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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2012 Nov 15;84(4):e507-14. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2012.05.035. Epub 2012 Jul 12.

AZD5438, an inhibitor of Cdk1, 2, and 9, enhances the radiosensitivity of non-small cell lung carcinoma cells.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas 75390-9187, USA.



Radiation therapy (RT) is one of the primary modalities for treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, due to the intrinsic radiation resistance of these tumors, many patients experience RT failure, which leads to considerable tumor progression including regional lymph node and distant metastasis. This preclinical study evaluated the efficacy of a new-generation cyclin-dependent kinase (Cdk) inhibitor, AZD5438, as a radiosensitizer in several NSCLC models that are specifically resistant to conventional fractionated RT.


The combined effect of ionizing radiation and AZD5438, a highly specific inhibitor of Cdk1, 2, and 9, was determined in vitro by surviving fraction, cell cycle distribution, apoptosis, DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair, and homologous recombination (HR) assays in 3 NSCLC cell lines (A549, H1299, and H460). For in vivo studies, human xenograft animal models in athymic nude mice were used.


Treatment of NSCLC cells with AZD5438 significantly augmented cellular radiosensitivity (dose enhancement ratio rangeing from 1.4 to 1.75). The degree of radiosensitization by AZD5438 was greater in radioresistant cell lines (A549 and H1299). Radiosensitivity was enhanced specifically through inhibition of Cdk1, prolonged G(2)-M arrest, inhibition of HR, delayed DNA DSB repair, and increased apoptosis. Combined treatment with AZD5438 and irradiation also enhanced tumor growth delay, with an enhancement factor ranging from 1.2-1.7.


This study supports the evaluation of newer generation Cdk inhibitors, such as AZD5438, as potent radiosensitizers in NSCLC models, especially in tumors that demonstrate variable intrinsic radiation responses.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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