Darbepoietin alfa potentiates the efficacy of radiation therapy in mice with corrected or uncorrected anemia CANCER RESEARCH Ning, S. C., Hartley, C., Molineux, G., Knox, S. J. 2005; 65 (1): 284-290


Darbepoietin alfa (DA) is a long-acting analogue of erythropoietin that has reduced receptor affinity and enhanced biological activity. Experiments were done to test the hypothesis that correction of anemia in tumor-bearing mice by DA would increase tumor oxygenation and potentiate radiation-induced tumor cell killing. A SCC VII tumor model was used to study tumor responses to fractionated radiation therapy in mice with anemia induced by total body irradiation. Administration of DA reduced the extent and duration of anemia and associated tumor hypoxia, protected the bone marrow cells and prevented the body weight loss from the effect of irradiation, and facilitated the recovery in a time-dependent manner, with the administration of DA prior to total body irradiation having the greatest protective effect. When combined with fractionated radiation therapy, DA increased the tumor growth delay time from 2.7 days for irradiation alone to 7.3 to 10.6 days for combination of DA and irradiation. The effect of DA on tumor responses to fractionated radiation therapy was observed when DA was given 18 to 4 days before starting radiation therapy, but DA was also equally effective as a radiosensitizer when given only 2 hours before fractionated irradiation therapy. Weekly dosing of DA was as efficacious for the enhancement of radiation responses of tumors as biweekly dosing. Similar results were obtained in the RIF-1 fibrosarcoma tumor model. These studies show that DA can effectively correct anemia in tumor-bearing mice and sensitize tumor cells to fractionated radiation therapy. Importantly, DA was also able to sensitize tumors to radiation in mice with uncorrected anemia and hypoxia, suggesting that the effect of DA on radiosensitivity was independent of these factors and a different mechanism of action may be responsible for this effect.

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View details for PubMedID 15665305