RPR-115135, a farnesyltransferase inhibitor, increases 5-FU- cytotoxicity in ten human colon cancer cell lines: Role of p53

Patrizia Russo, Davide Malacarne, Carla Falugi, Sonya Trombino, Patrick M. O'Connor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A new non peptidic farnesyltransferase inhibitor, RPR-115135, in combination with 5-FU was studied in 10 human colon cancer cell lines (HCT-116, RKO, DLD-1, Colo-320, LoVo, SW-620, HT-29, HCT-15, Colo-205 and KM-12) carrying several mutations but well characterized for p53 and Ras status. We found that there was a slight tendency (not statistically significant) for the p53 inactivated cells to be less sensitive to 5-FU after 6 days continuous treatment. Simultaneous administration of RPR-115135 and 5-FU, at subtoxic concentrations, resulted in a synergistic enhancement of 5-FU cytotoxicity in the p53 wildtype cells (HCT-116, RKO, DLD-1, Colo-320, LoVo). In the p53 mutated cells (SW-620, HT-29, HCT-15, Colo-205, KM-12) the effect was very complicated. In HCT-15 the combination resulted in antagonism, in KM-12 in antagonism or in synergy (at different concentrations) and in SW-620, HT-29 and Colo-205 cells in synergy but only when 5-FU was administered at high concentrations. Growth inhibition could be accounted for on the basis of a specific cell cycle arrest phenotype (G2-M arrest), as assayed by flow cytometry, only in the p53 functioning cell lines. The combination RPR-115135 + 5-FU increases apoptotic events only in these cell lines. In the mutated cell lines no major alterations on cell cycle arrest phenotype and no induction of apoptosis was observed. Although RPR-115135 can potentiate the effect of 5-FU in cells in which p53 function is disrupted, these data suggest strongly that RPR-115135 significantly enhances the efficacy of 5-FU only when p53 is functioning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-275
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 20 2002


  • 5-FU
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell cycle
  • Farnesyltransferase
  • p53

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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