Experimental Design: Maximum tolerated doses were determined for the combination of gemcitabine, the CHK1 inhibitor PF-477736, and Lutetium-177 (177Lu)–labeled anti-EGFR antibody. This triple combination therapy was investigated using PDAC models from well-established cell lines, recently established patient-derived cell lines, and fresh patient-derived xenografts. Tumors were investigated for the accumulation of 177Lu-anti-EGFR antibody, survival of tumor-initiating cells, induction of DNA damage, cell death, and tumor tissue degeneration.
Results: The combination of gemcitabine and CHK1 inhibitor PF-477736 with 177Lu-anti-EGFR antibody was tolerated in mice. This triplet was effective in established tumors and prevented the recurrence of PDAC in four cell line–derived and one patient-derived xenograft model. This exquisite response was associated with the loss of tumor-initiating cells as measured by flow cytometric analysis and secondary implantation of tumors from treated mice into treatment-naïve mice. Extensive DNA damage, apoptosis, and tumor degeneration were detected in the patient-derived xenograft. Mechanistically, we observed CDC25A stabilization as a result of CHK1 inhibition with consequent inhibition of gemcitabine-induced S-phase arrest as well as a decrease in canonical (ERK1/2 phosphorylation) and noncanonical EGFR signaling (RAD51 degradation) as a result of EGFR inhibition.
Conclusions: Our study developed an effective combination therapy against PDAC that has potential in the treatment of PDAC.