Ramucirumab is approved both as monotherapy and in combination with Paclitaxel for advanced gastric cancer in patients with disease progression after chemotherapy. In tumor cells, the VEGFA-VEGFR2 binding activates autocrine survival and migration signaling in angiogenesis independent manner. The present in vitro study investigated the effects of single and combined treatments with Ramucirumab and Paclitaxel on cell growth and migration highlighting the mechanisms underlying the interaction between the two drugs in gastric cancer cells. Cell growth and motility were investigated in human gastric cancer cell lines characterized by different tumorigenicity. The inhibitory effect on cell growth exerted by both drugs was potentiated by their combination and was synergistic. Ramucirumab was able to enhance the inhibitory effect exerted by Paclitaxel on cell cycle progression. A synergistic action was also observed in the expression of proteins crucial for cell motility, microtubule organization and epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Furthermore, synergistic inhibition of VEGFR2 expression was obtained by the drug combination. These findings highlighted the importance of the combined treatment to strongly inhibit all the main molecules of both PI3K/Akt/mTOR and MAPK pathways thus preventing possible reactivations due to cross-talk phenomena. The combined treatment with Ramucirumab seems to be a promising option to overcome the Paclitaxel resistance.
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