Potentiation of the antitumoral activity of gemcitabine and paclitaxel in combination on human breast cancer cells

Gabriella Zupi, Marco Scarsella, Carmen D'Angelo, Annamaria Biroccio, Giancarlo Paoletti, Massimo Lopez, Carlo Leonetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the antitumoral activity of different gemcitabine-based combination on an experimental model of human breast cancer, in order to identify the most effective treatment and to provide a rationale for clinical investigations. To this aim, CG5 breast cancer cells were treated in vitro with gemcitabine followed by epirubicin, doxorubicin, docetaxel or paclitaxel. The reversed sequence was also investigated. Results, analyzed by multiple drug effect/combination index (CI) isobologram, demonstrated that the combination gemcitabine/paclitaxel was the most active showing synergism with a CI of about 0.5 in the two sequences employed. Moreover, the synergistic interaction of gemcitabine and paclitaxel was correlated to a block of the cells in the G0/G1 compartment of cell cycle and to an increase of apoptotic cells compared to each drug. Based on these evidences, the antitumoral efficacy of gemcitabine/paclitaxel combination has been studied in vivo.Mice bearing CG5 human breast xenografts treated with paclitaxel and gemcitabine in combination showed a significant higher inhibition of tumor growth (∼ 70%) compared to that with either agent alone (25%). In conclusion, this study suggests that paclitaxel is the most promising agent for combination protocols with gemcitabine and supports the use of gemcitabine/paclitaxel combination in the clinical management of advanced breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCancer Biology and Therapy
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2005


  • Apoptosis
  • Breast cancer
  • Cell cycle
  • Chemotherapy
  • Combination
  • Mice
  • Tumor cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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