Objective: This study aimed to explore the antitumour effect of the DNA repair inhibitor, DT01 (the cholesterol conjugated form of Dbait), as an adjunct treatment to enhance the therapeutic efficacy of transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) in pre-clinical models of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Methods: A rabbit model bearing liver tumours was either left untreated or treated with TACE or with a combination of TACE+DT01. Tumour growth was monitored by ultrasound. These results were further confirmed in mice grafted with an intrahepatic human HCC model treated with doxorubicin (DOX) alone or DOX+DT01.
Results: The combination of DT01 with TACE in a rabbit liver model led to a significant decrease in tumour volume (p=0.03). Colour Doppler and immunohistochemical staining revealed a strong decrease in vascularization in the DT01+TACE-treated group preventing the tumour growth restart observed after TACE alone. Similarly, the DT01 combination with DOX led to significant anti-tumour efficacy compared to DOX alone (p=0.02) in the human HCC model. In addition, a significant decrease in vascularization in the group receiving combination DT01 and DOX treatment was observed.
Conclusions: DT01 is well tolerated and may potentiate HCC treatment by enhancing the DNA-damaging and anti-vascularization effect of TACE with doxorubicin.
Key points: • DT01 combined with TACE leads to significant anti-tumour efficacy without additional toxicity. • A potential anti-angiogenic role of DT01 was identified in preclinical models. • DT01 may potentiate HCC treatment by enhancing the efficacy of TACE.
Keywords: Anti-angiogenic drug; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Liver; Therapeutic chemoembolization; VEGF receptor.