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BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Ras has been identified as a significant contributor to radiation resistance. This article reviews preclinical and phase I clinical studies that reported on combining inhibition of activated Ras and downstream effectors of Ras with radiotherapy. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Transfection studies and RNA interference were used to check the role of the Ras isoforms for intrinsic radiation sensibility. Western blotting was used to control for prenylation inhibition of the respective Ras isoforms and for changes in activity of downstream proteins. Clonogenic assays with human and rodent tumor cell lines served for testing radiosensitivity. In vivo, farnesyltransferase inhibitors (FTIs) and irradiation were used to treat xenograft tumors. Ex vivo plating efficiency measurements, regrowth of tumors, and EF5 staining for detection of hypoxia were endpoints in these studies. Simultaneous treatment with L-778,123 and irradiation was performed in non-small cell lung cancer, head and neck cancer, and pancreatic cancer patients. RESULTS: Radiation sensitization was achieved in vitro and in vivo blocking the prenylation of Ras proteins in cell lines with Ras activated by mutations or receptor signaling. Among the many Ras downstream pathways the phosphoinositide 3 (PI3) kinase-Akt pathway was identified as a contributor to Ras-mediated radiation resistance. Furthermore, increased oxygenation was observed in xenograft tumors after FTI treatment. Combined treatment in a phase I study was safe and effective. CONCLUSION: The rational combination of FTIs with radiotherapy may improve the clinical results of patients with tumors who bear mutant or receptor-signaling activated Ras.

Original publication




Journal article


Strahlenther Onkol

Publication Date





731 - 740


Animals, Enzyme Activation, Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic, Humans, Models, Biological, Neoplasms, Radiation Tolerance, Signal Transduction, ras Proteins