Send to

Choose Destination
Anticancer Drugs. 2008 Jun;19(5):465-75. doi: 10.1097/CAD.0b013e3282fc46c4.

Dose-dependent and sequence-dependent cytotoxicity of erlotinib and docetaxel in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

Author information

Department of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas 77030-4009, USA.


The purpose of this study was to determine whether the efficacy of taxoid treatment combined with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibition is dose and sequence dependent in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Three head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cell lines, chosen on the basis of their diverse EGFR expression levels, were treated with docetaxel, erlotinib, or both. The combination index was calculated using the Chou-Talalay equation. Propidium iodide staining with fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis was used to evaluate the effects of drugs on cell cycle changes. Western blot analysis was used to determine the effects of agents on cell signaling pathways. Administration of low-dose docetaxel (0.1-3 nmol/l) concurrently or before erlotinib had additive cytotoxic effects in two cell lines but was antagonistic in one line, whereas low-dose docetaxel after erlotinib was synergistic in all cell lines. In contrast, high-dose docetaxel (40 nmol/l) resulted in more apoptosis when given before, rather than after or concurrently with, erlotinib. Low-dose docetaxel induced an accumulation of cells in the sub-G0 phase of the cell cycle with no mitotic arrest or apoptosis, whereas high-dose docetaxel induced mitotic arrest and apoptosis. The low and high doses of docetaxel had opposite effects on EGFR expression: a decrease and an increase, respectively. The dose of docetaxel affects sequence-dependent cytotoxicity when docetaxel is combined with an EGFR inhibitor. The mechanism for this difference is a combination of the dose-dependent effects of docetaxel on the mode of cell death and on EGFR expression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wolters Kluwer
Loading ...
Support Center