Research Papers:

The novel HSP90 inhibitor AT13387 potentiates radiation effects in squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma cells

Diana Spiegelberg _, Adrian Dascalu, Anja C. Mortensen, Andris Abramenkovs, Gamze Kuku, Marika Nestor and Bo Stenerlöw

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:35652-35666. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.5363

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Diana Spiegelberg1, Adrian Dascalu1, Anja C. Mortensen1, Andris Abramenkovs1, Gamze Kuku1, Marika Nestor1,2, Bo Stenerlöw1

1Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

2Unit of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Surgical Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

Correspondence to:

Diana Spiegelberg, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: 17-AAG, synergy, DNA repair, EGFR, CD44v6

Received: May 31, 2015     Accepted: September 24, 2015     Published: October 06, 2015


Overexpression of heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) is associated with increased tumor cell survival and radioresistance. In this study we explored the efficacy of the novel HSP90 inhibitor AT13387 and examined its radiosensitizing effects in combination with gamma-radiation in 2D and 3D structures as well as mice-xenografts. AT13387 induced effective cytotoxic activity and radiosensitized cancer cells in monolayer and tumor spheroid models, where low drug doses triggered significant synergistic effects on cell survival together with radiation. Furthermore, AT13387 treatment resulted in G2/M-phase arrest and significantly reduced the migration capacity. The expression of selected client proteins involved in DNA repair, cell-signaling and cell growth was downregulated in vitro, though the expression of most investigated proteins recurred after 8–24 h. These results were confirmed in vivo where AT13387 treated tumors displayed effective downregulation of HSP90 and its oncogenic client proteins.

In conclusion, our results demonstrate that AT13387 is a potent new cancer drug and effective radiosensitizer in vitro with an excellent in vivo efficacy. AT13387 treatment has the potential to improve external beam therapy and radionuclide therapy outcomes and restore treatment efficacy in cancers that are resistant to initial therapeutic regimes.

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