Roscovitine synergizes with conventional chemo-therapeutic drugs to induce efficient apoptosis of human colorectal cancer cells

World J Gastroenterol. 2008 Sep 7;14(33):5162-75. doi: 10.3748/wjg.14.5162.


Aim: To examine the ability of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor (CDKI) roscovitine (Rosco) to enhance the antitumor effects of conventional chemotherapeutic agents acting by different mechanisms against human colorectal cancer.

Methods: Human colorectal cancer cells were treated, individually and in combination, with Rosco, taxol, 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU), doxorubicine or vinblastine. The antiproliferative effects and the type of interaction of Rosco with tested chemotherapeutic drugs were determined. Cell cycle alterations were investigated by fluorescence-activated cell sorter FACS analysis. Apoptosis was determined by DNA fragmentation assay.

Results: Rosco inhibited the proliferation of tumor cells in a time- and dose-dependent manner. The efficacies of all tested chemotherapeutic drugs were markedly enhanced 3.0-8.42 multiply 10(3) and 130-5.28 multiply 10(3) fold in combination with 5 and 10 microg/mL Rosco, respectively. The combination of Rosco and chemotherapeutic drugs inhibited the growth of human colorectal cancer cells in an additive or synergistic fashion, and in a time and dose dependent manner. Rosco induced apoptosis and synergized with tested chemotherapeutic drugs to induce efficient apoptosis in human colorectal cancer cells. Sequential, inverted sequential and simultaneous treatment of cancer cells with combinations of chemotherapeutic drugs and Rosco arrested the growth of human colorectal cancer cells at various phases of the cell cycle as follows: Taxol/Rosco (G2/M- and S-phases), 5-FU/Rosco (S-phase), Dox/Rosco (S-phase) and Vinb/Rosco (G2/M- and S-phases).

Conclusion: Since the efficacy of many anticancer drugs depends on their ability to induce apoptotic cell death, modulation of this parameter by cell cycle inhibitors may provide a novel chemo-preventive and chemotherapeutic strategy for human colorectal cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / drug therapy*
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • DNA Fragmentation / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Doxorubicin / pharmacology
  • Doxorubicin / therapeutic use
  • Drug Synergism
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Fluorouracil / pharmacology
  • Fluorouracil / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Paclitaxel / pharmacology
  • Paclitaxel / therapeutic use
  • Purines / pharmacology
  • Purines / therapeutic use*
  • Roscovitine
  • Time Factors
  • Vinblastine / pharmacology
  • Vinblastine / therapeutic use


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Purines
  • Roscovitine
  • Vinblastine
  • Doxorubicin
  • Paclitaxel
  • Fluorouracil