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Exploring Cancer Drugs In Vitro and In Vivo: With Special Reference to Chemosensitivity Testing and Early Clinical Development
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Radiology, Oncology and Radiation Science, Oncology.
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aims of this thesis were to investigate the utility of in vitro drug sensitivity testing to optimize the use of cancer chemotherapy and to assess the properties of a new cancer drug in a phase I clinical trial. Tumour cells from patients were analysed with the short-term Fluorometric Microculture Cytotoxicity Assay (FMCA). In samples from a wide spectrum of tumour types, the effect of the drug combination FEC (5Fu-epirubicin-cyclophosphamide) was generally appropriately predicted from the effect of the best component drug. However, of samples intermediately sensitive to the best single drug, 45% converted to sensitive when testing the combination. Thus, combination testing may identify advantageous interactions and improve in vitro test performance. In tumour samples from peritoneal carcinomatosis, significant differences in drug sensitivity between diagnoses were observed, cross-resistance between most drugs was modest or absent, and the concentration-effect relationships for two drugs in individual samples varied considerably. Thus, for optimal selection of drugs for intraperitoneal chemotherapy, differences in drug sensitivity at the diagnosis and individual patient level should be considered. In samples from patients with ovarian carcinoma, drug sensitivity was related to tumour grade, histologic subtype and patient treatment status. In a homogeneous subset of patients, the FMCA predicted individual patient tumour response with high sensitivity and specificity. Thus, if carefully interpreted in the context of important clinical variables, in vitro testing could be of value for individualizing chemotherapy in ovarian cancer. Employing a once weekly dosing schedule in a phase I trial, the mechanistically new and preclinically promising NAD depleting drug CHS 828 produced dose limiting thrombocytopenia and gastrointestinal toxicity without clear evidence of anti-tumour efficacy. It is concluded that in vitro drug sensitivity testing could be a way to optimize the use of chemotherapy and that successful development of new cancer drugs needs improved strategies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2011. , 52 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 675
Keyword [en]
cytotoxic drug, in vitro assay, drug development, phase I clinical trial
National Category
Cancer and Oncology
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-151826ISBN: 978-91-554-8087-5 (print)OAI: diva2:411428
Public defence
2011-06-03, Auditorium Minus, Gustavianum, Uppsala, 09:15 (English)
Available from: 2011-05-13 Created: 2011-04-18 Last updated: 2011-07-01Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Evaluation of drug interactions in the established FEC regimen in primary cultures of tumour cells from patients
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Evaluation of drug interactions in the established FEC regimen in primary cultures of tumour cells from patients
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2000 (English)In: Annals of Oncology, ISSN 0923-7534, E-ISSN 1569-8041, Vol. 11, no 10, 1301-1307 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]


Chemotherapy using multi-drug regimens is considered more active than single-agent therapy. This may be due to synergistic interactions or, simply, a higher probability of administering an active agent. We investigated in vitro the type of drug interactions in a recognized regimen in relationship to tumour type and drug sensitivity.


The possibility of synergistic and additive interactions between individual cytotoxic drugs was investigated for the component drugs of the established FEC regimen, i.e., 5-fluorouracil, epirubicin and cyclophosphamide, in 243 patient tumour samples representing various drug sensitivity using the non-clonogenic fluorometric microculture cytotoxicity assay.


Using a cell survival of < or = 50% as a limit for drug activity and sample sensitivity, the overall response rates to the most active single drug (Dmax) and the combination were 56% and 64%, respectively, with a distribution among diagnoses similar to that in the clinic. For 86% of the samples there was concordance with respect to judgement of activity using either Dmax or the combination. For samples being sensitive to at least one single drug, 95% were also sensitive to the combination whereas for samples with insignificant Dmax effect, only 2% were sensitive to the combination. In samples with modest Dmax effects, i.e., cell survival in the range > 50%- < or = 80%, 45% responded to the combination. The effect of the combination was generally well predicted from the Dmax effect.


The superior antitumour effect of drug combinations compared with single drugs may be due to the higher chance of selecting an active agent. However, for intermediately sensitive tumours, additional interaction effects of a combination may be of clinical significance.

National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-57287 (URN)11106120 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2007-02-09 Created: 2007-02-09 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
2. Heterogeneous activity of cytotoxic drugs in patient samples of peritoneal carcinomatosis
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Heterogeneous activity of cytotoxic drugs in patient samples of peritoneal carcinomatosis
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2008 (English)In: European Journal of Surgical Oncology, ISSN 0748-7983, E-ISSN 1532-2157, Vol. 34, no 5, 547-552 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]


To investigate if the pattern of cytotoxic drug sensitivity in vitro in patient samples of peritoneal carcinomatosis (PC) is supportive to the current standardized approach for drug selection for perioperative intraperitoneal chemotherapy (IPC).


The cytotoxic effect of cisplatin, oxaliplatin, irinotecan, 5-fluorouracil, mitomycin-C, doxorubicin and melphalan was investigated in vitro on tumour cells from 223 patient tumour samples of different PC origins.


Considerable differences in cytotoxic drug sensitivity between tumour types of the PC entity and within each tumour type were observed. Cisplatin showed high cross-resistance with oxaliplatin but low cross-resistance with doxorubicin and irinotecan. No cross-resistance was found between irinotecan and doxorubicin. The dose-response relationships for melphalan and irinotecan in individual samples showed great variability.


The activity in vitro of cytotoxic drugs commonly used in IPC for PC is very heterogeneous. Efforts for individualizing drug selection for PC patients undergoing IPC seem justified.

Peritoneal carcinomatosis, Intraperitoneal chemotherapy, Cytotoxic drug, In vitro
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-13245 (URN)10.1016/j.ejso.2007.05.002 (DOI)000256207400012 ()17574369 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2008-06-24 Created: 2008-06-24 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved
3. Assessment of Chemotherapeutic Drug Sensitivity in Epithelial Ovarian Cancer Using Primary Cultures of Tumour Cells from Patients
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Assessment of Chemotherapeutic Drug Sensitivity in Epithelial Ovarian Cancer Using Primary Cultures of Tumour Cells from Patients
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(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Sensitivity of epithelial ovarian cancer to chemotherapeutic drugs relevant in treatment of this cancer type was analysed in 125 tumour samples from 112 patients using a short-term primary culture assay based on the concept of total cell kill. Sensitivity was related to histopathological subtypes, treatment status and clinical tumour response. For cisplatin, doxorubicin, 5-FU, cyclophosphamide and topotecan, seropapillary high grade and clear cell ovarian cancer were the most sensitive subtypes and the mucinous tumours the most resistant subtype, whereas endometrioid tumours and the seropapillary low grade/borderline tumours showed intermediate sensitivity. In contrast, docetaxel showed the opposite pattern of activity. Samples from patients previously treated with chemotherapy tended, for the majority of drugs, to be slightly more resistant than samples from treatment naïve patients. The activity of cisplatin correlated strongly with that of the other drugs with the exception of docetaxel, implicating non-cross resistance between these key drugs in ovarian cancer. Tumour samples from two sites in the same patient at the same occasion showed similar and samples taken at different occasions different cisplatin sensitivity, which may implicate tumour clonal selection over time. At group level, samples from patients clinically responding to treatment were more sensitive to most drugs than samples from non-responding patients. At the individual patient level, optimized analyses of drug sensitivity in vitro compared with clinical response showed sensitivities and specificities in the 90 – 100% and 54 – 83% ranges, respectively. In conclusion, ovarian cancer subtypes exhibit different chemotherapeutic drug sensitivity in vitro, which needs consideration in treatment decisions for this disease. Furthermore, in vitro assessment of ovarian cancer tumour cell chemotherapeutic drug sensitivity provides clinically relevant information that could be useful in efforts to optimize treatment in individual patients with this disease.

ovarian cancer, chemotherapy, drug sensitivity testing, in vitro
National Category
Cancer and Oncology
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-151799 (URN)
Available from: 2011-04-18 Created: 2011-04-18 Last updated: 2013-08-15
4. Safety and efficacy of NAD depleting cancer drugs: results of a phase I clinical trial of CHS 828 and overview of published data
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Safety and efficacy of NAD depleting cancer drugs: results of a phase I clinical trial of CHS 828 and overview of published data
2010 (English)In: Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology, ISSN 0344-5704, E-ISSN 1432-0843, Vol. 65, no 6, 1165-1172 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]


Depletion of cellular nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) by inhibition of its synthesis is a new pharmacological principle for cancer treatment currently in early phases of clinical development. We present new and previously published data on the safety and efficacy of these drugs based on early clinical trials.


A phase I clinical trial of CHS 828 in patients with advanced solid tumours was performed. Published clinical trials on NAD depleting drugs for cancer treatment were summarised for safety and efficacy.


Seven patients with previously treated solid tumours received oral administration of CHS 828 in the dose range 20-80 mg once weekly for 3 weeks in 4 weeks cycles. Toxicity was dominated by gastrointestinal symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, subileus and gastric ulcer. One patient had thrombocytopenia grade 2. There were two cases each of grade 3-4 hyperuricemia and hypokalemia. Safety and efficacy of the NAD depleting drugs CHS 828 and FK866 have been reported from four phase I clinical trials, including a total of 97 patients with previously treated solid tumours. Outstanding toxicity reported was thrombocytopenia and various gastrointestinal symptoms. No objective tumour remission has been observed in the total of 104 patients treated in the above early trials.


Critical toxicity from NAD depleting cancer drugs to consider in future trials seems to be thrombocytopenia and various gastrointestinal symptoms. Efficacy of NAD depleting drugs when used alone is expected to be low.

Cancer, NAD depletion, Phase I clinical trial, CHS 828, FK866, GMX1777
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-130804 (URN)10.1007/s00280-009-1125-3 (DOI)000275632400019 ()19789873 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2010-09-13 Created: 2010-09-13 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved

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