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Radiosensitization of noradrenaline transporter-expressing tumour cells by proteasome inhibitors and the role of reactive oxygen species

Rae, Colin and Tesson, Mathias and Babich, John W and Boyd, Marie and Mairs, Robert J (2013) Radiosensitization of noradrenaline transporter-expressing tumour cells by proteasome inhibitors and the role of reactive oxygen species. EJNMMI Research, 3 (1).

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Abstract

The radiopharmaceutical 131I-metaiodobenzylguanidine (131I-MIBG) is used for the targeted radiotherapy of noradrenaline transporter (NAT)-expressing neuroblastoma. Enhancement of 131I-MIBG's efficacy is achieved by combination with the topoisomerase I inhibitor topotecan - currently being evaluated clinically. Proteasome activity affords resistance of tumour cells to radiation and topoisomerase inhibitors. Therefore, the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib was evaluated with respect to its cytotoxic potency as a single agent and in combination with 131I-MIBG and topotecan. Since elevated levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) are induced by bortezomib, the role of ROS in tumour cell kill was determined following treatment with bortezomib or the alternative proteasome inhibitor, MG132.  Clonogenic assay and growth of tumour xenografts were used to investigate the effects of proteasome inhibitors alone or in combination with radiation treatment. Synergistic interactions in vitro were evaluated by combination index analysis. The dependency of proteasome inhibitor-induced clonogenic kill on ROS generation was assessed using antioxidants.  Bortezomib, in the dose range 1 to 30 nM, decreased clonogenic survival of both SK-N-BE(2c) and UVW/NAT cells, and this was prevented by antioxidants. It also acted as a sensitizer in vitro when administered with X-radiation, with 131I-MIBG, or with 131I-MIBG and topotecan. Moreover, bortezomib enhanced the delay of the growth of human tumour xenografts in athymic mice when administered in combination with 131I-MIBG and topotecan. MG132 and bortezomib had similar radiosensitizing potency, but only bortezomib-induced cytotoxicity was ROS-dependent.  Proteasome inhibition shows promise for the treatment of neuroblastoma in combination with 131I-MIBG and topotecan. Since the cytotoxicity of MG132, unlike that of bortezomib, was not ROS-dependent, the latter proteasome inhibitor may have a favourable toxicity profile in normal tissues.