Vitamin D derivatives potentiate the anticancer and anti-angiogenic activity of tyrosine kinase inhibitors in combination with cytostatic drugs in an A549 non-small cell lung cancer model
- Ewa Maj
- Beata Filip-Psurska
- Magdalena Milczarek
- Mateusz Psurski
- Andrzej Kutner
- Joanna Wietrzyk
Published online on: December 15, 2017
Copyright: © Maj et al.
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License.
Numerous in vitro and in vivo studies have demonstrated that calcitriol [1,25(OH)2D3] and different vitamin D analogs possess antineoplastic activity, regulating proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis, as well as angiogenesis. Vitamin D compounds have been shown to exert synergistic effects when used in combination with different agents used in anticancer therapies in different cancer models. The aim of this study was to evaluate the mechanisms of the cooperation of the vitamin D compounds [1,24(OH)2D3 (PRI‑2191) and 1,25(OH)2D3] with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (imatinib and sunitinib) together with cytostatics (cisplatin and docetaxel) in an A549 non-small cell lung cancer model. The cytotoxic effects of the test compounds used in different combinations were evaluated on A549 lung cancer cells, as well as on human lung microvascular endothelial cells (HLMECs). The effects of such combinations on the cell cycle and cell death were also determined. In addition, changes in the expression of proteins involved in cell cycle regulation, angiogenesis and the action of vitamin D were analyzed. Moreover, the effects of 1,24(OH)2D3 on the anticancer activity of sunitinib and sunitinib in combination with docetaxel were examined in an A549 lung cancer model in vivo. Experiments aiming at evaluating the cytotoxicity of the combinations of the test agents revealed that imatinib and sunitinib together with cisplatin or docetaxel exerted potent anti-proliferative effects in vitro on A549 lung cancer cells and in HLMECs; however, 1,24(OH)2D3 and 1,25(OH)2D3 enhanced the cytotoxic effects only in the endothelial cells. Among the test agents, sunitinib and cisplatin decreased the secretion of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)‑A from the A549 lung cancer cells. The decrease in the VEGF‑A level following incubation with cisplatin correlated with a higher p53 protein expression, while no such correlation was observed following treatment of the A549 cells with sunitinib. Sunitinib together with docetaxel and 1,24(OH)2D3 exhibited a more potent anticancer activity in the A549 lung cancer model compared to double combinations and to treatment with the compounds alone. The observed anticancer activity may be the result of the influence of the test agents on the process of tumor angiogenesis, for example, through the downregulation of VEGF‑A expression in tumor and also on the induction of cell death inside the tumor.