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Clin Cancer Res. 2009 Feb 15;15(4):1335-42. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-08-0969.

Role of the microenvironment for radiosensitization by patupilone.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, University Hospital Zurich, Section of Radio-Oncology, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.



The combined treatment modality of ionizing radiation (IR) and the clinically relevant microtubule-stabilizing compound patupilone (epothilone B, EPO906) is a promising approach for anticancer therapy. Here, we investigated the role of the tumor microenvironment for the supra-additive in vivo response in tumor xenografts derived from patupilone-sensitive and patupilone-resistant non-small cell lung cancer cells.


The treatment response to a combined regimen of patupilone and IR was investigated in vitro and in tumor xenografts derived from wild-type A549 and A549.EpoB40 cells, which are resistant to patupilone due to a beta-tubulin mutation.


In both A549 and A549.EpoB40 cells, proliferative activity and clonogenicity were reduced in response to IR, whereas patupilone, as expected, inhibited proliferation of the mutant cell line with reduced potency. Combined treatment with patupilone and IR induced a cytotoxic effect in vitro in an additive way in A549 cells but not in the tubulin-mutated, patupilone-resistant A549.EpoB40 cells. A supra-additive tumor growth delay was induced by combined treatment in xenografts derived from A549 cells but not in xenografts derived from A549.EpoB40 cells. Histologic analysis revealed a significant decrease in tumor cell proliferation (Ki-67) and microvessel density and a treatment-dependent change of tumor hypoxia in A549 but not A549.EpoB40 xenografts.


Using a genetically defined patupilone-sensitive and patupilone-resistant tumor model, we here showed that the major cytotoxic effect of the combined treatment modality of IR and patupilone is directed against the tumor cell compartment. The induced antiangiogenic effect derives indirectly from the tumor cell.

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