The major challenges we are facing in cancer therapy with paclitaxel (PTX) are the drug resistance and severe side effects. Massive efforts have been made to overcome these clinical challenges by combining PTX with other drugs. In this study, we reported the first preclinical data that praziquantel (PZQ), an anti-parasite agent, could greatly enhance the anticancer efficacy of PTX in various cancer cell lines, including PTX-resistant cell lines. Based on the combination index value, we demonstrated that PZQ synergistically enhanced PTX-induced cell growth inhibition. The co-treatment of PZQ and PTX also induced significant mitotic arrest and activated the apoptotic cascade. Moreover, PZQ combined with PTX resulted in a more pronounced inhibition of tumor growth compared with either drug alone in a mouse xenograft model. We tried to investigate the possible mechanisms of this synergistic efficacy induced by PZQ and PTX, and we found that the co-treatment of the two drugs could markedly decrease expression of X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP), an anti-apoptotic protein. Our data further demonstrated that down-regulation of XIAP was required for the synergistic interaction between PZQ and PTX. Together, this study suggested that the combination of PZQ and PTX may represent a novel and effective anticancer strategy for optimizing PTX therapy.
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Date Published: 12-December-2012
Author(s): Wu Z., Lu M., Hu L., Li X.