Schedule-dependent interaction between paclitaxel and 5-fluorouracil in human carcinoma cell lines in vitro

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Abstract

We assessed the cytotoxic interaction between paclitaxel and 5-fluorouracil administered at various schedules against four human carcinoma cell lines, A549, MCF7, PA1 and WiDr. The cells were exposed simultaneously to paclitaxel and to 5-fluorouracil for 24 h or sequentially to one drug for 24 h followed by the other for 24 h, after which they were incubated in drug-free medium for 4 and 3 days respectively. In another experiment, the cells were exposed simultaneously to both agents for 5 days. Cell growth inhibition was determined by MTT reduction assay. The effects of drug combinations at IC80 were analysed by the isobologram. The cytotoxic interaction of paclitaxel and 5-fluorouracil was definitely schedule dependent. Simultaneous exposure to paclitaxel and 5-fluorouracil for 24 h showed mainly subadditive effects in A549, MCF7 and WiDr cell lines, whereas it showed additive effects in PA1 cells. Sequential exposure to paclitaxel followed by 5-fluorouracil showed additive effects in all cell lines. Sequential exposure to 5-fluorouracil followed by paclitaxel showed subadditive effects in A549, MCF7 and PA1 cells. Whereas it showed additive effects in WiDr cells. These findings suggest that maximum cytotoxic effects can be obtained when paclitaxel precedes 5-fluorouracil. Interestingly, the continuous (5-day) exposure to paclitaxel and 5-fluorouracil had additive effects in A549, PA1 and WiDr cells, indicating that the prolonged simultaneous administration of these agents may circumvent the antagonistic interaction produced by short-term simultaneous administration. These findings may be useful in clinical trials of combination chemotherapy with paclitaxel and 5-fluorouracil.

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