Synergy of the protein farnesyltransferase inhibitor SCH66336 and cisplatin in human cancer cell lines

A. A. Adjei, J. N. Davis, L. M. Bruzek, C. Erlichman, S. H. Kaufmann

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The enzyme protein farnesyltransferase, which catalyzes the first step in the posttranslational modification of ras and a number of other polypeptides, has emerged as an important target for the development of anticancer agents. SCH66336 is one of the first farnesyltransferase inhibitors to undergo clinical testing. In the present study, we examined the effect of combining SCH66336 with several classes of antineoplastic drugs in various human tumor cell lines. Flow cytometry indicated that SCH66336 had no effect on the cell cycle distribution of treated cells. Nonetheless, colony-forming assays revealed that the antiproliferative effects of SCH66336 and 5-fluorouracil were less than additive. In contrast, the effects of SCH66336 and melphalan were additive. Moreover, the combination of SCH66336 + cisplatin produced antiproliferative effects that were additive or synergistic over a broad range of clinically achievable concentrations in A549 non-small cell lung cancer cells and T98G human glioblastoma cells, but less than additive in MCF-7 breast, HCT116 colon, or BxPC-3 pancreatic adenocarcinoma cells. Examination of the effect of drug sequencing in A549 cells revealed synergism when cells were exposed to SCH66336 and then cisplatin and antagonism when drugs were administered in the opposite order. The additive and synergistic effects resulted in enhanced apoptosis with the SCH66336 + cisplatin combination. Additional studies failed to show any effect of SCH66336 on the formation or removal of platinum-DNA adducts, raising the possibility that SCH66336 is affecting survival of cisplatin-treated cells downstream of the DNA lesions. These observations suggest that SCH66336 exhibits additive or synergic effects when combined with cisplatin in a sequence- and cell line-dependent fashion. Additional preclinical and clinical study of this combination appears warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1438-1445
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001


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