PURPOSE - SU11248 (sunitinib) is a small-molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor which targets VEGFR and PDGFR isoforms. In the present study, the effects of SU11248 and ionizing radiation on pancreatic cancer were studied.
METHODS AND MATERIALS - For in vitro studies human pancreatic adenocarcinoma cells lines were treated with 1 microM SU11248 1 h before irradiation. Western blot analysis was used to determine the effect of SU11248 on radiation-induced signal transduction. To determine if SU11248 sensitized pancreatic cancer to the cytotoxic effects of ionizing radiation, a clonogenic survival assay was performed using 0-6 Gy. For in vivo assays, CAPAN-1 cells were injected into the hind limb of nude mice for tumor volume and proliferation studies.
RESULTS - SU11248 attenuated radiation-induced phosphorylation of Akt and ERK at 0, 5, 15, and 30 min. Furthermore, SU11248 significantly reduced clonogenic survival after treatment with radiation (p < 0.05). In vivo studies revealed that SU11248 and radiation delayed tumor growth by 6 and 10 days, respectively, whereas combined treatment delayed tumor growth by 30 days. Combined treatment with SU11248 and radiation further attenuated Brdu incorporation by 75% (p = 0.001) compared to control.
CONCLUSIONS - SU11248 (sunitinib) sensitized pancreatic cancer to the cytotoxic effects of radiation. This compound is promising for future clinical trials with chemoradiation in pancreatic cancer.