Purpose: SCH66336 is an orally active, farnesyl protein transferase inhibitor. SCH66336 inhibits ras farnesylation in tumor cells and suppresses tumor growth in human xenograft and transgenic mouse cancer models in vivo. The taxanes, paclitaxel (Taxol) and docetaxel (Taxotere) block cell mitosis by enhancing polymerization of tubulin monomers into stabilized microtubule bundles, resulting in apoptosis. We hypothesized that anticancer combination therapy with SCH66336 and taxanes would be more efficacious than single drug therapy.
Methods: We tested the efficacy of SCH66336 and taxanes when used in combination against tumor cell proliferation in vitro, against NCI-H460 human lung tumor xenografts in nude mice, and against mammary tumors in wap-ras transgenic mice.
Results: SCH66336 synergized with paclitaxel in 10 out of 11 tumor cells lines originating from breast, colon, lung, ovary, prostate, and pancreas. SCH66336 also synergized with docetaxel in four out of five cell lines tested. In the NCI-H460 lung cancer xenograft model, oral SCH66336 (20 mg/kg twice daily for 14 days) and intraperitoneal paclitaxel (5 mg/kg once daily for 4 days) caused a tumor growth inhibition of 56% by day 7 and 65% by day 14 compared to paclitaxel alone. Male transgenic mice of the wap-ras/F substrain [FVB/N-TgN(WapHRAS)69LlnYSJL] spontaneously develop mammary tumors at 6 9 weeks of age which have been previously shown to be resistant to paclitaxel. Paclitaxel resistance was confirmed in the present study, while SCH66336 inhibited growth of these tumors. Most importantly, SCH66336 was able to sensitize wap-ras/F mammary tumors to paclitaxel chemotherapy.
Conclusion: Clinical investigation of combination therapy using SCH66336 and taxanes in cancer patients is warranted. Further, SCH66336 may be useful for sensitizing paclitaxel-resistant tumors to taxane treatment.