Purpose: To investigate the synergistic cytotoxicity of TRAIL in combination with chemotherapeutic agents in A549 cell lines, we systematically evaluated the cytotoxicity of TRAIL alone and TRAIL in combination with cisplatin, paclitaxel (Taxol) or actinomycin D in A549 cell lines in vitro and in vivo, and whether the sensitivity was correlated with the expression level of TRAIL receptors.
Methods: We investigated the cytotoxicity of TRAIL alone and the synergistic antitumor effects of TRAIL in combination with chemotherapeutic agents in A549 cells by crystal violet staining and FACS in vitro. The expression levels of DR4, DR5, DcR1 and DcR2 were measured in TRAIL-treated and chemotherapeutic agent-treated A549 cells by Western blotting. The growth inhibition of tumors was evaluated in terms of incidence, volume and weight in a A549-implanted nude mice model.
Results: Chemotherapeutic agents cisplatin (5.56 mug/ml), Taxol (10 and 30 mug/ml) or actinomycin D (9.26, 83.3 and 750 ng/ml) augmented the cytotoxicity of TRAIL in A549 cell lines within a range of concentrations of TRAIL (1.98-160 ng/ml) in vitro. The expression levels of DR4 and DR5 were not significantly different and the expression of DcR2 was slightly downregulated, but the expression of DcR1 was not detected in non-treated, TRAIL-treated and chemotherapeutic agent-treated A549 cells. The rates of tumor inhibition following treatment with TRAIL alone (15 mg/kg per day, daily for 10 days) and TRAIL/cisplatin (15 mg/kg per day TRAIL, daily for 10 days; 1.5 mg/kg per day cisplatin, daily for 10 days with 7-day intervals) were 28.3% and 76.8% by tumor weight ( P<0.05 for TRAIL alone versus control, P<0.05 for TRAIL/cisplatin versus cisplatin alone and TRAIL alone) on day 65 in vivo.
Conclusion: TRAIL in combination with chemotherapeutic agents cisplatin, Taxol or actinomycin D exerted synergistic antitumor effects in A549 cell lines in vitro and TRAIL/cisplatin demonstrated synergistic antitumor effects in vivo. The expression levels of TRAIL receptors suggested that the synergistic effects of TRAIL in combination with chemotherapeutic agents are not at the receptor level in A549 cell lines.