Schedule dependent synergy of gemcitabine and doxorubicin: Improvement of in vitro efficacy and lack of in vitro-in vivo correlation

Citation:

Douglas R Vogus, Anusha Pusuluri, Renwei Chen, and Samir Mitragotri. 2018. “Schedule dependent synergy of gemcitabine and doxorubicin: Improvement of in vitro efficacy and lack of in vitro-in vivo correlation.” Bioeng Transl Med, 3, 1, Pp. 49-57.

Abstract:

Combination chemotherapy is commonly used to treat late stage cancer; however, treatment is often limited by systemic toxicity. Optimizing drug ratio and schedule can improve drug combination activity and reduce dose to lower toxicity. Here, we identify gemcitabine (GEM) and doxorubicin (DOX) as a synergistic drug pair in vitro for the triple negative breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231. Drug synergy and caspase activity were increased the most by exposing cells to GEM prior to DOX in vitro. While the combination was more effective than the single drugs at inhibiting MDA-MB-231 growth in vivo, the clear schedule dependence observed in vitro was not observed in vivo. Differences in drug exposure and cellular behavior in vivo compared to in vitro are likely responsible. This study emphasizes the importance in understanding how schedule impacts drug synergy and the need to develop more advanced strategies to translate synergy to the clinic.