Phenylbutyl isoselenocyanate (ISC-4) is an Akt inhibitor with demonstrated preclinical efficacy against melanoma and colon cancer. In this study, we sought to improve the clinical utility of ISC-4 by identifying a synergistic combination with FDA-approved anti-cancer therapies, a relevant and appropriate disease setting for testing, and biomarkers of response. We tested the activity of ISC-4 and 19 FDA-approved anticancer agents, alone or in combination, against the SW480 and RKO human colon cancer cell lines. A synergistic interaction with cetuximab was identified and validated in a panel of additional colon cancer cell lines, as well as the kinetics of synergy. ISC-4 in combination with cetuximab synergistically reduced the viability of human colon cancer cells with wild-type but not mutant KRAS genes. Further analysis revealed that the combination therapy cooperatively decreased cell cycle progression, increased caspase-dependent apoptosis, and decreased phospho-Akt in responsive tumor cells. The synergism between ISC-4 and cetuximab was retained independently of acquired resistance to 5-FU in human colon cancer cells. The combination demonstrated synergistic anti-tumor effects in vivo without toxicity and in the face of resistance to 5-FU. These results suggest that combining ISC-4 and cetuximab should be explored in patients with 5-FU-resistant colon cancer harboring wild-type KRAS.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)