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Anticancer Res. 2012 Nov;32(11):4877-81.

Interaction of radiation and gefitinib on a human lung cancer cell line with mutant EGFR gene in vitro.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Gunma University, Graduate School of Medicine, 3-39-22, Showa-machi, Maebashi, Gunma 371-8511, Japan.



To investigate the effect of gefitinib in combination with irradiation using HCC827 cells, a human lung cancer cell line bearing epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation.


The effects of treatment with radiation with and without gefitinib on HCC827 cells were assessed using a clonogenic assay. Apoptosis was measured by flow cytometry and EGFR signal transduction was evaluated by western blotting.


The Dq - quasi-threshold dose, the dose at which the straight portion of the survival curve, extrapolated backward, cuts the dose axis drawn through a survival fraction of unity - after radiation-alone and after combination treatment were 0.41±0.09 Gy and 0.08±0.11 Gy, respectively; thus indicating that combination treatment resulted in supra-additive effects of radiation. There was no significant difference on the D0 - final slope of the survival curve (the dose required to reduce the fraction of surviving cells to 37% of its previous value) - between-radiation alone and the combination treatment. Apoptosis significantly increased after the combination treatment in comparison to what was observed after radiation-alone. The expression of phosphorylated EGFR (pEGFR), phosphorylated ERK1/2 (pERK1/2) and phosphorylated AKT (pAKT) after the combination decreased in comparison to what was observed after radiation-alone.


Gefitinib enhances radiosensitivity of supra-additively HCC827 cells by inhibiting the activation of the anti-apoptotic and proliferative signal transduction pathways.

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