The combination of irinotecan and a fluoropyrimidine has been widely accepted as a treatment for advanced colorectal carcinoma. However, there have been no evaluable data on the feasibility of these combinations. To assess the significance of such combinations, we attempted to identify gene expression patterns in response to irinotecan and two different types of fluoropyrimidines. In 12 patients dispositioned to receive preoperative chemotherapy for colorectal carcinoma, pre-therapy tumor biopsies and final resected specimens were available for analysis. Patients were randomly assigned to receive one of the following four regimens: (I), oral doxifluridine; (II), intravenous infusion of 5-FU; (III), intravenous infusion of irinotecan; (IV), combination of doxifluridine and irinotecan (I+III). To identify genes whose expressions changed, we analyzed the gene expression profiles prior to and after these therapies using an oligonucleotide microarray consisting of 12,000 genes. Next, we focused on the genes that demonstrated similar kinetics of altered expression in all patients in each of the regimens. We identified two proto-oncogenes, nuclear receptor of T-cells (NOT) and c-fos, that were up-regulated in doxifluridine- and irinotecan-related regimens but unchanged in the 5-FU-related regimen. Moreover, group IV tumors showed the highest apoptotic rate and lowest proliferation activity following the combined chemotherapy. These results suggest that doxifluridine has a synergistic impact on the therapeutic effect of irinotecan by up-regulating proto-oncogenes such as NOT and c-fos, and thus justify the use of one of the irinotecan and fluoropyrimidine combinations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research