Background: Well-differentiated gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms are rare tumors with a slow proliferation. They are virtually resistant to many DNA-damaging therapeutic approaches, such as chemo- and external beam therapy, which might be overcome by DNA damage inhibition induced by proteasome inhibitors such as bortezomib. Methods and results: In this study, we assessed several combined treatment modalities in vitro and in vivo. By cell-based functional analyses, in a 3D in ovo and an orthotopic mouse model, we demonstrated sensitizing effects of bortezomib combined with cisplatin, radiation and peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT). By gene expression profiling and western blot, we explored the underlying mechanisms, which resulted in an impaired DNA damage repair. Therapy-induced DNA damage triggered extrinsic proapoptotic signaling as well as the induction of cell cycle arrest, leading to a decreased vital tumor volume and altered tissue composition shown by magnetic resonance imaging and F-18-FDG-PET in vivo, however with no significant additional benefit related to PRRT alone. Conclusions: We demonstrated that bortezomib has short-term sensitizing effects when combined with DNA damaging therapy by interfering with DNA repair in vitro and in ovo. Nevertheless, due to high tumor heterogeneity after PRRT in long-term observations, we were not able to prove a therapeutic advantage of bortezomib-combined PRRT in an in vivo mouse model.

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Neoplasia (United States)
Department of Radiology

Briest, F. (Franziska), Koziolek, E.J. (Eva J.), Albrecht, J. (Jakob), Schmidt, F. (Fränze), Bernsen, M., Haeck, J., … Grabowski, P. (Patricia). (2021). Does the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib sensitize to DNA-damaging therapy in gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms? – A preclinical assessment in vitro and in vivo. Neoplasia (United States), 23(1), 80–98. doi:10.1016/j.neo.2020.11.004