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Sunday 15 July 2001

Antisense oligonucleotides targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor inhibit proliferation, induce apoptosis, and cooperate with cytotoxic drugs in human cancer cell lines.

By: Ciardiello F, Caputo R, Troiani T, Borriello G, Kandimalla ER, Agrawal S, Mendelsohn J, Bianco AR, Tortora G.

Int J Cancer 2001 Jul 15;93(2):172-8

We have constructed a series of 22 phosphorothioate 20-mer antisense oligonucleotides directed against different regions of the human (EGFR) mRNA. Treatment with EGFR antisense oligonucleotides showed a dose-dependent inhibition of human GEO colon cancer cell growth in soft agar. Western blot analysis demonstrated a significant reduction in EGFR expression after treatment with each EGFR antisense oligonucleotide. The ability to inhibit GEO anchorage-independent growth, however, varied among the EGFR antisense sequences with an IC(50) ranging between 0.5 and 3.5 microM. Two of these antisense oligonucleotides targeting the regions between 2457-2476 and 614-4633 bases of the human EGFR mRNA have been modified as hybrid DNA/RNA mixed backbone oligonucleotides (MBO) to examine their anticancer properties in vivo. The 2 EGFR antisense MBOs retained the same biological properties of the fully phosphorothioate EGFR antisense oligonucleotides targeting the same EGFR mRNA sequences, such as blocking EGFR synthesis, inhibiting cell growth and enhancing programmed cell death in human cancer cell lines that express functional EGFRs. Furthermore, a potentiation in the growth inhibitory effect on GEO cancer cells was observed after treatment with these EGFR antisense MBOs in combination with cytotoxic drugs, including cisplatin, doxorubicin, paclitaxel, or topotecan. These results show the antiproliferative activity of specific EGFR antisense oligonucleotides and allow to identify novel EGFR antisense MBOs that deserve further evaluation as potential selective anticancer agents alone or in combination with cytotoxic drugs in human carcinomas that express functional EGFRs. Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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