, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 15-20

Four-hourly scheduling of temozolomide improves tumour growth delay but not therapeutic index in A375M melanoma xenografts

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Purpose: To establish whether temozolomide is more effective against A375M human melanoma xenografts if given every 4 h rather than every 24 h, in order to exploit depletion of the DNA repair protein O 6-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase (ATase) by prior doses of the drug. Methods: ATase depletion in A375M human melanoma xenografts was determined over 24 h after a single dose of temozolomide. The effect of different drug schedules (all of total dose 500 mg/kg) in delaying the growth of the xenografts was tested, and ATase depletion and DNA methylation damage assessed in tumour and normal tissue. Results: Maximal depletion of ATase in tumour, to 2.52 ± 0.23% of pretreatment levels, occurred 4–8 h after a single 100 mg/kg i.p. dose of temozolomide, with 23.0% recovery of protein levels at 24 h. Scheduling of temozolomide every 4 h increased tumour growth delay (33.6 ± 1.39 days with temozolomide 100 mg/kg 4-hourly ×5 versus 23.2 ± 1.43 days with temozolomide 100 mg/kg once daily ×5; P < 0.0001) at the expense of increased toxicity (17.4 ± 1.55% animal weight loss versus 10.6 ± 1.27%, respectively). Temozolomide every 4 h did not increase ATase depletion compared with the 5-day schedule, but resulted in greater DNA O 6-guanine methylation (29.0% more in tumour, 20.8% in liver and 56.0% in brain, comparing areas under the methylation-time curve). Conclusions: The 4-hourly schedule of temozolomide delayed tumour growth significantly more than the once-daily and 12-hourly schedules, probably as a result of greater DNA damage inflicted, but also increased toxicity. It remains to be seen if this regimen confers a net benefit over the standard schedule.

Received: 12 March 1999 / Accepted: 9 August 1999