Radiotherapy is based on the induction of lethal DNA damage, primarily DNA double-strand breaks (DSB). Efficient DSB repair via Non-Homologous End Joining or Homologous Recombination can therefore undermine the efficacy of radiotherapy. By suppressing DNA-DSB repair with hyperthermia (HT) and DNA-PKcs inhibitor NU7441 (DNA-PKcsi), we aim to enhance the effect of radiation. The sensitizing effect of HT for 1 hour at 42°C and DNA-PKcsi [1 μM] to radiation treatment was investigated in cervical and breast cancer cells, primary breast cancer sphere cells (BCSCs) enriched for cancer stem cells, and in an in vivo human tumor model. A significant radio-enhancement effect was observed for all cell types when DNA-PKcsi and HT were applied separately, and when both were combined, HT and DNA-PKcsi enhanced radio-sensitivity to an even greater extent. Strikingly, combined treatment resulted in significantly lower survival rates, 2 to 2.5 fold increase in apoptosis, more residual DNA-DSB 6 h post treatment and a G2-phase arrest. In addition, tumor growth analysis in vivo showed significant reduction in tumor growth and elevated caspase-3 activity when radiation was combined with HT and DNA-PKcsi compared to radiation alone. Importantly, no toxic side effects of HT or DNA-PKcsi were found. In conclusion, inhibiting DNA-DSB repair using HT and DNA-PKcsi before radiotherapy leads to enhanced cytotoxicity in cancer cells. This effect was even noticed in the more radio-resistant BCSCs, which are clearly sensitized by combined treatment. Therefore, the addition of HT and DNA-PKcsi to conventional radiotherapy is promising and might contribute to more efficient tumor control and patient outcome.
|Number of pages||10|
|Publication status||Published - 2016|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes