Purpose: Current treatments for glioblastoma multiforme are inadequate and limited by the radiation sensitivity of normal brain. Because glioblastoma multiforme are rapidly proliferating tumors within nondividing normal tissue, the therapeutic ratio might be enhanced by combining radiotherapy with a replication-specific radiosensitizer. KU-0059436 (AZD2281) is a potent and nontoxic inhibitor of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1) undergoing a Phase II clinical trial as a single agent.
Methods and materials: Based on previous observations that the radiosensitizing effects of PARP inhibition are more pronounced in dividing cells, we investigated the mechanisms underlying radiosensitization of human glioma cells by KU-0059436, evaluating the replication dependence of this effect and its therapeutic potential.
Results: KU-0059436 increased the radiosensitivity of four human glioma cell lines (T98G, U373-MG, UVW, and U87-MG). Radiosensitization was enhanced in populations synchronized in S phase and abrogated by concomitant exposure to aphidicolin. Sensitization was further enhanced when the inhibitor was combined with a fractionated radiation schedule. KU-0059436 delayed repair of radiation-induced DNA breaks and was associated with a replication-dependent increase in gammaH2AX and Rad51 foci.
Conclusion: The results of our study have shown that KU-0059436 increases radiosensitivity in a replication-dependent manner that is enhanced by fractionation. A mechanism is proposed whereby PARP inhibition increases the incidence of collapsed replication forks after ionizing radiation, generating persistent DNA double-strand breaks. These observations indicate that KU-0059436 is likely to enhance the therapeutic ratio achieved by radiotherapy in the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme. A Phase I clinical trial is in development.