In vitro testing of chemotherapeutic drug combinations in acute myelocytic leukaemia using the fluorometric microculture cytotoxicity assay (FMCA)

Br J Cancer. 1993 May;67(5):969-74. doi: 10.1038/bjc.1993.178.


The fluorometric microculture cytotoxicity assay (FMCA) was employed for analysing the effect of different chemotherapeutic drug combinations and their single constituents in 44 cases of acute myelocytic leukaemia (AML). A large heterogeneity with respect to cell kill was observed for all combinations tested, the interactions ranging from antagonistic to synergistic in terms of the multiplicative concept for drug interactions. However, an 'additive' model provided a significantly better fit of the data compared to the effect of the most active single agent of the combination (Dmax) for several common antileukaemic drug combinations. When the two interaction models were related to treatment outcome 38% of the non-responders showed preference for the additive model whereas the corresponding figure for responders was 80%. Overall, in 248 of 290 (85%) tests performed with drug combinations, there was an agreement between the effect of the combination and that of the most active single component. Direct comparison of Dmax and the combination for correlation with clinical outcome demonstrated only minor differences in the ability to predict drug resistance. The results show that FMCA appear to report drug interactions in samples from patients with AML in accordance with clinical experience. Furthermore, testing single agents as a substitute for drug combinations may be adequate for detection of clinical drug resistance to combination therapy in AML.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / administration & dosage*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Drug Interactions
  • Drug Synergism
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / drug therapy*
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence