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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2007 Sep 1;69(1):187-93.

DNA-PKcs-dependent modulation of cellular radiosensitivity by a selective cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Division of Molecular Radiation Biology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390-9187, USA.



Inhibition of cyclooxygenase-2 has been shown to increase radiosensitivity. Recently, the suppression of radiation-induced DNA-dependant protein kinase (DNA-PK) activity by the selective cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor celecoxib was reported. Given the importance of DNA-PK for repair of radiation-induced DNA double-strand breaks by nonhomologous end-joining and the clinical use of the substance, we investigated the relevance of the DNA-PK catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs) for the modulation of cellular radiosensitivity by celecoxib.


We used a syngeneic model of Chinese hamster ovarian cell lines: AA8, possessing a wild-type DNK-PKcs; V3, lacking a functional DNA-PKcs; and V3/WT11, V3 stably transfected with the DNA-PKcs. The cells were treated with celecoxib (50 muM) for 24 h before irradiation. The modulation of radiosensitivity was determined using the colony formation assay.


Treatment with celecoxib increased the cellular radiosensitivity in the DNA-PKcs-deficient cell line V3 with a dose-enhancement ratio of 1.3 for a surviving fraction of 0.5. In contrast, clonogenic survival was increased in DNA-PKcs wild-type-expressing AA8 cells and in V3 cells transfected with DNA-PKcs (V3/WT11). The decrease in radiosensitivity was comparable to the radiosensitization in V3 cells, with a dose-enhancement ratio of 0.76 (AA8) and 0.80 (V3/WT11) for a survival of 0.5.


We have demonstrated a DNA-PKcs-dependent differential modulation of cellular radiosensitivity by celecoxib. These effects might be attributed to alterations in signaling cascades downstream of DNA-PK toward cell survival. These findings offer an explanation for the poor outcomes in some recently published clinical trials.

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