PDF file, 116K, Animal weight during treatment with MK8776, gemcitabine, and radiation.
ARTICLE ABSTRACTPurpose: The combination of radiation with chemotherapy is the most effective therapy for unresectable pancreatic cancer. To improve upon this regimen, we combined the selective Checkpoint kinase 1 (Chk1) inhibitor MK8776 with gemcitabine-based chemoradiation in preclinical pancreatic cancer models.Experimental Design: We tested the ability of MK8776 to sensitize to gemcitabine-radiation in homologous recombination repair (HRR)–proficient and –deficient pancreatic cancer cells and assessed Rad51 focus formation. In vivo, we investigated the efficacy, tumor cell selectivity, and pharmacodynamic biomarkers of sensitization by MK8776.Results: We found that MK8776 significantly sensitized HRR-proficient (AsPC-1, MiaPaCa-2, BxPC-3) but not -deficient (Capan-1) pancreatic cancer cells to gemcitabine-radiation and inhibited Rad51 focus formation in HRR-proficient cells. In vivo, MiaPaCa-2 xenografts were significantly sensitized to gemcitabine-radiation by MK8776 without significant weight loss or observable toxicity in the small intestine, the dose-limiting organ for chemoradiation therapy in pancreatic cancer. We also assessed pChk1 (S345), a pharmacodynamic biomarker of DNA damage in response to Chk1 inhibition in both tumor and small intestine and found that MK8776 combined with gemcitabine or gemcitabine-radiation produced a significantly greater increase in pChk1 (S345) in tumor relative to small intestine, suggesting greater DNA damage in tumor than in normal tissue. Furthermore, we demonstrated the utility of an ex vivo platform for assessment of pharmacodynamic biomarkers of Chk1 inhibition in pancreatic cancer.Conclusions: Together, our results suggest that MK8776 selectively sensitizes HRR-proficient pancreatic cancer cells and xenografts to gemcitabine-radiation and support the clinical investigation of MK8776 in combination with gemcitabine-radiation in locally advanced pancreatic cancer. Clin Cancer Res; 19(16); 4412–21. ©2013 AACR.