Combined inhibition of Chk1 and Wee1: In vitro synergistic effect translates to tumor growth inhibition in vivo

Laura Carrassa, Rosaria Chilà, Monica Lupi, Francesca Ricci, Cinzia Celenza, Marco Mazzoletti, Massimo Broggini, Giovanna Damia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Targeting Chk1 protein kinase can enhance the antitumor effects of radio- and chemotherapy. Recent evidence disclosed a role of Chk1 in unperturbed cell proliferation and survival, implying that Chk1 inhibitors could also be effective as single agents in tumors with a specific genetic background. To identify genes in synthetic lethality with Chk1, we did a high-throughput screening using a siRNA library directed against 719 human protein kinases in the human ovarian cancer cell line OVCAR-5, resistant to Chk1 inhibitors. Wee1 tyrosine kinase was the most significant gene in synthetic lethality with Chk1. Treatment with non-toxic concentrations of a Chk1 inhibitor (PF-00477736) and a Wee1 inhibitor (MK-1775) confirmed the marked synergistic effect in various human cancer cell lines (breast, ovarian, colon, prostate), independently of the p53 status. Detailed molecular analysis showed that the combination caused cancer cells to undergo premature mitosis before the end of DNA replication, with damaged DNA leading to cell death partly by apoptosis. In vivo treatment of mice bearing OVCAR-5 xenografts with the combination of Chk1 and Wee1 inhibitors led to greater tumor growth inhibition than with the inhibitors used as single agents with no toxicity. These data provide a strong rationale for the clinical investigation of the combination of a Chk1 and a Wee1 inhibitor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2507-2517
Number of pages11
JournalCell Cycle
Volume11
Issue number13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2012

Keywords

  • Chk1
  • In vivo antitumor activity
  • Synthetic lethality
  • Targeted therapy
  • Wee1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology

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