Cytotoxic effects of topotecan combined with various anticancer agents in human cancer cell lines

Scott H. Kaufmann, David Peereboom, Christopher A. Buckwalter, Phyllis A. Svingen, Louise B. Grochow, Ross C. Donehower, Eric K. Rowinsky

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Abstract

Background: Topotecan (TPT) is a topoisomerase I poison that exhibits antineoplastic activity. Analysis of the cytotoxic effects of combinations of TPT and other anticancer agents has been limited. Purpose: We assessed the cytotoxic effects produced by combinations of TPT and other antineoplastic agents in experiments involving multiple human cancer cell lines of diverse histologic origins. Methods: The cytotoxic effects of various antimetabolites (fluorouracil, methotrexate, or cytarabine), antimicrotubule agents (vincristine or paclitaxel [Taxol]), DNA alkylating agents (melphalan, bis[chloroethyl]nitrosourea [BCNU], or 4-hydroperoxycyclophosphamide [4HC]), and a DNA-platinating agent (cisplatin), alone and in combination with TPT, were measured in clonogenic (i.e., colony-forming) assays. HCT8 ileocecal adenocarcinoma, A549 non-small-cell lung carcinoma, NCI-H82ras(H) lung cancer, T98G glioblastoma, and MCF-7 breast cancer cell lines were used in these assays. The data were analyzed by the median effect method, primarily under the assumption that drug mechanisms of action were mutually nonexclusive (i.e., completely independent of one another). For each level of cytotoxicity (ranging from 5% to 95%), a drug combination index (CI) was calculated. A CI less than 1 indicated synergy (i.e., the effect of the combination was greater than that expected from the additive effects of the component agents), a CI equal to 1 indicated additivity, and a CI greater than I indicated antagonism (the effect of the combination was less than that expected from the additive effects of the component agents). Results: When the mechanisms of drug action were assumed to be mutually nonexclusive, virtually all CIs for combinations of TPT and either antimetabolites or antimicrotubule agents revealed cytotoxic effects that were less than additive. The CIs calculated at low-to-intermediate levels of cytotoxicity for combinations of TPT and the DNA alkylating agents melphalan, BCNU, and 4HC also showed drug effects that were less than additive; in most cases, however, nearly additive or even synergistic effects were observed with these same drug combinations at high levels of cytotoxicity (i.e., at ≥90% inhibition of colony formation). Results obtained with combinations of TPT and cisplatin varied according to the cell line examined. With A549 cells, less than additive effects were seen at low-to-intermediate levels of cytotoxicity, and more than additive effects were seen at high levels of cytotoxicity. With NCI-H82ras(H) cells, synergy was observed over most of the cytotoxicity range. Conclusions and Implications: TPT cytotoxicity appears to be enhanced more by combination with certain DNA-damaging agents than by combination with antimetabolites or antimicrotubule agents. Interactions between TPT and other drugs can vary depending on the cell type examined. Further investigation is required to determine the basis of the observed effects and to determine whether these in vitro tradings are predictive of results obtained in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)734-741
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the National Cancer Institute
Volume88
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 5 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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    Kaufmann, S. H., Peereboom, D., Buckwalter, C. A., Svingen, P. A., Grochow, L. B., Donehower, R. C., & Rowinsky, E. K. (1996). Cytotoxic effects of topotecan combined with various anticancer agents in human cancer cell lines. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 88(11), 734-741. https://doi.org/10.1093/jnci/88.11.734