Integration of chemotherapy and radiation is the standard practice in the management of locally advanced inoperable NSCLC. To assess the biological interaction between third generation chemotherapeutic agents and radiation in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in vitro, we tested a number of different drugs (paclitaxel, docetaxel, gemcitabine, topotecan, SN-38 and cisplatin) combined with radiation, in lung cancer cell lines. Cellular chemosensitivity was determined, using the semi-automated colorimetric MTT assay, after 48, 72 and 96 h of exposure to increasing drug concentrations, (0.001-100 μM) and radiation doses (100-400 cGy). Cell lines used were the adenocarcinoma (ADK), A-549, and the squamous-cell carcinoma (SCC), LX-1. Cells were pre-treated with anticancer agents at 24, 12 and 0 h before irradiation. Cytofluorimetric cell cycle analysis was performed. A significant S-phase block or a G2/M block was seen with gemcitabine and topotecan or paclitaxel pre-treatment, respectively. Apoptosis was seen only after paclitaxel exposure in the A-549 cell line. Despite a similar pattern of cell-kinetic changes induced by chemotherapy pre-treatment in all cell lines, the adenocarcinoma A-549 cell line was not radiosensitized by any of the anticancer agents tested, whereas synergism was observed in the LX-1 squamous carcinoma cell line, when exposed to gemcitabine, SN-38, topotecan and cisplatin. Paclitaxel, despite a favourable cell cycle effect, was not found to be synergistic with radiotherapy in our experimental model. In conclusion, the observed synergism appears to be dose- and timing-independent and seems to be related to the histological subtype being present in SCC only. Favourable perturbation of the cell cycle is evident with all the new agents tested in both cell types, but was not sufficient to produce synergism with radiation.
- In vitro
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