Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology

, Volume 67, Issue 2, pp 275–284 | Cite as

Schedule treatment design and quantitative in vitro evaluation of chemotherapeutic combinations for metastatic prostate cancer therapy

  • Ana Catarina Pinto
  • Susana Ângelo
  • João Nuno Moreira
  • Sérgio SimõesEmail author
Original Article



Preclinical evaluation is essential for a rational design of combination chemotherapy as some agents, with known mechanisms of action and non-overlapping toxicities may increase the therapeutic index of anticancer drugs, whose clinical success is hindered by side effects and drug resistance. The present study investigated new drug combinations with potential outcome for the treatment of metastatic prostate cancer. This final clinical stage exhibits predominantly hormone-refractory prostate cancer (HRPC) cells but also a minority of hormone responsive cells.


Growth inhibition activity of simultaneous and sequential combinations was evaluated by resazurin assay. In vitro evaluation of synergism, additivity, or antagonism, against prostate cancer cell lines, was performed by the median effect analysis. The importance of dosage, exposure time, drug ratio, and type of treatment were investigated and compared.


Most simultaneous combinations of two drugs with different mechanisms of action or of two topoisomerase II inhibitors resulted in mild antagonism of antiproliferative effects, particularly notorious at high cell death. Imatinib–mitoxantrone and ciprofloxacin–etoposide combinations were exceptions, as they yielded additivity and dose reduction index (DRI) values of 2.6 and 3.5-fold for mitoxantrone and etoposide, respectively. Sequential combinations (ciprofloxacin or imatinib pre-treatment) revealed additive growth inhibition effects, translated in much higher DRI values (from 7.0 to 15.3-fold). Moderate synergism was restricted to sequential ciprofloxacin combinations at high cell death.


Ciprofloxacin and imatinib significantly improve growth inhibition activity of standard antineoplastic drugs in a schedule-dependent manner and, therefore, may have an important role as adjuvant therapeutic agents in a clinical setting.


HRPC Chemosensitization Imatinib Dose reduction index Median effect analysis 



This work was supported by a fellowship (SFRH/BDE/15519/2004) from Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) (Portugal) and from Bluepharma, Indústria Farmacêutica SA (Portugal).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana Catarina Pinto
    • 1
    • 4
  • Susana Ângelo
    • 3
    • 4
  • João Nuno Moreira
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sérgio Simões
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Technology, Faculty of PharmacyUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  2. 2.Center for Neurosciences and Cell BiologyUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  3. 3.Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science and TechnologyUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  4. 4.Bluepharma, Indústria Farmacêutica SACoimbraPortugal

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