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Invest New Drugs. 2012 Apr;30(2):468-79. doi: 10.1007/s10637-010-9572-6. Epub 2010 Nov 3.

Vandetanib mediates anti-leukemia activity by multiple mechanisms and interacts synergistically with DNA damaging agents.

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Department of Pediatrics, Section of Hematology, Oncology, and Bone Marrow Transplantation, University of Colorado Denver, 13123 East 16th Avenue B-115, Aurora, CO 80045, USA.


Vandetanib is an orally active small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) with activity against several pathways implicated in malignancy including the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor pathway, the epidermal growth factor receptor pathway, the platelet derived growth factor receptor β pathway, and REarranged during Transfection pathway. To determine if vandetanib-mediated inhibition of receptor tyrosine kinases is a potential therapeutic strategy for pediatric acute leukemia, these studies aimed to characterize the activity of vandetanib against acute leukemia in vitro. Treatment of leukemia cell lines with vandetanib resulted in a dose-dependent decrease in proliferation and survival. Vandetanib's anti-leukemic activity appeared mediated by multiple mechanisms including accumulation in G1 phase at lower concentrations and apoptosis at higher concentrations. Alterations in cell surface markers also occurred with vandetanib treatment, suggesting induction of differentiation. In combination with DNA damaging agents (etoposide and doxorubicin) vandetanib demonstrated synergistic induction of cell death. However in combination with the anti-metabolite methotrexate, vandetanib had an antagonistic effect on cell death. Although several targets of vandetanib are expressed on acute leukemia cell lines, expression of vandetanib targets did not predict vandetanib sensitivity and alone are therefore not likely candidate biomarkers in patients with acute leukemia. Interactions between vandetanib and standard chemotherapy agents in vitro may help guide choice of combination regimens for further evaluation in the clinical setting for patients with relapsed/refractory acute leukemia. Taken together, these preclinical data support clinical evaluation of vandetanib, in combination with cytotoxic chemotherapy, for pediatric leukemia.

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