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Saturday 01 September 2001

Synergistic interaction between topotecan and microtubule-interfering agents.

By: Bahadori HR, Green MR, Catapano CV.

Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 2001 Sep;48(3):188-96

PURPOSE: Topotecan is a topoisomerase I inhibitor with demonstrated anticancer activity in preclinical and clinical studies. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate drug-drug interactions in therapeutic regimens that would combine topotecan with microtubule-interfering agents, such as Taxol and vinblastine. METHODS: The cytotoxic activities of various drug combinations and schedules of administration were measured in a colon cancer cell line using the MTT assay. Western blot and flow cytometry were performed to determine the effects of Taxol and vinblastine on topoisomerase I and Bcl-xL protein levels and cell cycle distribution. RESULTS: Brief incubation of colon cancer cells with low concentrations of either Taxol or vinblastine increased the efficacy of a subsequent treatment with topotecan. Preincubation of cells with vinblastine or Taxol reduced by 10- to 40-fold the concentration of topotecan necessary to induce a 50% decrease in cell survival. The effects were maximal when the cells were treated for 5 h with microtubule-interfering agents and then incubated for 19 h in drug-free medium before the addition of topotecan. Under these conditions, both Taxol and vinblastine caused an increase in topoisomerase I protein levels, fraction of S phase cells, and extent of Bcl-xL phosphorylation immediately prior to the addition of topotecan. All these factors may contribute to the increased efficacy of topotecan observed with sequential therapy. CONCLUSION: Combinations of topotecan and microtubule-interfering agents result in synergistic anticancer activity when the drugs are administered sequentially. The promising preclinical data presented here encourage clinical testing of these drug combinations using a sequential schedule of administration.

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