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BMC Cancer  2006 

Comparative evaluation of the treatment efficacy of suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA) and paclitaxel in ovarian cancer cell lines and primary ovarian cancer cells from patients

DOI: 10.1186/1471-2407-6-183

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We compared a prototypic histone deacetylase inhibitor, suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA), and paclitaxel for their treatment efficacy in ovarian cancer cell lines and in primary patient-derived ovarian cancer cells. The primary cancer cells were isolated from malignant ascites collected from five patients with stage III ovarian carcinomas. Cytotoxic activities were evaluated by Alamar Blue assay and by caspase-3 activation. The ability of SAHA to kill drug-resistant 2780AD cells was also assessed.By employing the cell lines OVCAR-3, SK-OV-3, and A2780, we established SAHA at concentrations of 1 to 20 μM to be as efficient in inducing cell death as paclitaxel at concentrations of 3 to 300 nM. Consequently, we treated the patient-derived cancer cells with these doses of the drugs. All five isolates were sensitive to SAHA, with cell killing ranging from 21% to 63% after a 72-h exposure to 20 μM SAHA, while four of them were resistant to paclitaxel (i.e., <10% cell death at 300 nM paclitaxel for 72 hours). Likewise, treatment with SAHA led to an increase in caspase-3 activity in all five isolates, whereas treatment with paclitaxel had no effect on caspase-3 activity in three of them. 2780AD cells were responsive to SAHA but resistant to paclitaxel.These ex vivo findings raise the possibility that SAHA may prove effective in the treatment of paclitaxel-resistant ovarian cancer in vivo.Ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynaecological neoplasm, accounting for over 6% of deaths from cancer in women [1]. The standard treatment is a combination of surgery and chemotherapy, the latter usually consisting of a taxane/platinum combination. By this regimen, initial response rates of more than 80% are achieved [2]. Unfortunately, in the vast majority of women, diagnosis occurs after the disease has already disseminated beyond the ovaries. These patients typically relapse and eventually die as the tumours become refractory to treatment. Actually, drug resistance is supposed to


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