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Combined radiochemotherapy treatment modalities are in use for many indications and therefore of high interest. Even though a combined modality in clinical use is often driven by pragmatic aspects, mechanistic preclinical-based concepts of interaction are of importance in order to translate and implement an optimal combination and scheduling of two modalities into the clinics. The use of microtubule stabilising agents is a promising strategy for anti-cancer therapy as a part of combined treatment modality with ionising radiation. Traditionally, microtubule targeting agents are classified as cytotoxic chemotherapeutics and are mostly used in a maximally tolerated dose regimen. Apart from direct cytotoxicity and similar to mechanisms of molecular targeting agents, microtubule stabilising agents interfere with multiple cellular processes, which can be exploited as part of combined treatment modalities. Recent preclinical investigations on the combination of ionising radiation and microtubule stabilising agents reveal new mechanistic interactions on the cellular and tumour level and elucidate the supra-additive tumour response observed particularly in vivo. The major focus on the mechanism of interaction was primarily based on radiosensitisation due to cell cycle arrest in the most radiosensitive G2/M-phase of the cell cycle. However, other mechanisms of interaction such as reoxygenation and direct as well as indirect endothelial damage have also been identified. In this review we summarise and allocate additive and synergistic effects induced by the combined treatment of clinically relevant microtubule stabilising agents and ionising radiation along a described radiobiological framework encompassing distinct mechanisms relevant for exploiting the combination of drugs and ionising radiation. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Carla Rohrer Bley, Polina Furmanova, Katrin Orlowski, Nicole Grosse, Angela Broggini-Tenzer, Paul M J McSheehy, Martin Pruschy. Microtubule stabilising agents and ionising radiation: multiple exploitable mechanisms for combined treatment. European journal of cancer (Oxford, England : 1990). 2013 Jan;49(1):245-53

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PMID: 22683167

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