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Mol Cancer Ther. 2009 Dec;8(12):3285-95. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-09-0415.

Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) and paclitaxel have cooperative in vivo effects against glioblastoma multiforme cells.

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Laboratory of Molecular Oncology and Cell Cycle Regulation, Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 415 Curie Boulevard, CRB 437A, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) in conjunction with microtubule-targeting agents may be a promising novel anticancer treatment strategy. In vitro studies have suggested that relatively low concentrations of TRAIL enhance the lethality of paclitaxel (Taxol) against human cancer cells. The increased efficacy may be due to the triggering of caspase activation, resulting in mitotic checkpoint abrogation and catastrophe. We show here that wild-type p53 protects cells from caspase-dependent death induced by this therapeutic combination in vitro. We have now also developed an imaging-based model system to test the in vivo efficacy of combined TRAIL and Taxol, in which tumor growth and treatment response can be monitored noninvasively and in real-time. We further utilize bioluminescence, F18-fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography, and microscale computed tomography imaging to confirm the effects of combined treatment on tumors. These studies together provide the first in vivo confirmation that combined TRAIL plus paclitaxel results in better tumor control compared with either TRAIL or paclitaxel alone, and with no discernable increased normal tissue toxicity in the mouse. Interestingly, the in vivo antitumor response elicited by combined treatment was not affected by the p53 status of the tumor cells. These preclinical observations together suggest the therapeutic potential of combining TRAIL plus paclitaxel in cancer treatment, and support further preclinical and future clinical testing.

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