Pauwels, B., Korst, A. E. C., Andriessen, V., Baay, M. F. D., Pattyn, G. G. O., Lambrechts, H. A. J., De Pooter, C. M. J., Lardon, F. and Vermorken, J. B. Unraveling the Mechanism of Radiosensitization by Gemcitabine: The Role of TP53. Radiat. Res. 164, 642–650 (2005).

Gemcitabine has excellent radiosensitizing properties, as shown in both preclinical and clinical studies. Radiosensitization correlated with the early S-phase block of gemcitabine. In the present study, we investigated the role of TP53 in the radiosensitizing effect of gemcitabine. Isogenic A549 cells differing in TP53 status were treated with gemcitabine during the 24 h prior to irradiation. Cell survival was determined 7 days after irradiation by the sulforhodamine B test. In addition, cell cycle perturbation was determined by flow cytometry and TP53 expression by Western blot analysis. Gemcitabine caused a concentration-dependent radiosensitizing effect in all cell lines. Transformed A549 cells were less sensitive to the cytotoxic effect of gemcitabine. The cell cycle arrest early in the S phase was dependent on the drug dose but was comparable in the different cell lines and was not related to functional TP53. Using isogenic cell lines, we have shown that neither TP53 status nor the transfection procedure influenced the radiosensitizing effect of gemcitabine. Since both the radiosensitizing effect at equitoxic concentrations and the cell cycle effect of gemcitabine were independent of TP53 expression, it is likely that TP53 protein does not play a crucial role in the radiosensitizing mechanism of gemcitabine.

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