DNA-dependent protein kinase is a molecular target for the development of noncytotoxic radiation-sensitizing drugs

Eric T. Shinohara, Ling Geng, Jiahui Tan, Heidi Chen, Yu Shir, Eric Edwards, James Halbrook, Edward A. Kesicki, Adam Kashishian, Dennis E. Hallahan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK)-defective severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice have a greater sensitivity to ionizing radiation compared with wild-type mice due to deficient repair of DNA double-strand break. SCID cells were therefore studied to determine whether radiosensitization by the specific inhibitor of DNA-PK, IC87361, is eliminated in the absence of functional DNA-PK. IC87361 enhanced radiation sensitivity in wild-type C57BL6 endothelial cells but not in SCID cells. The tumor vascular window model was used to assess IC87361-induced radiosensitization of SCID and wild-type tumor microvasculature. Vascular density was 5% in irradiated SCID host compared with 50% in C57BL6 mice (P < 0.05). IC87361 induced radiosensitization of tumor microvasculature in wild-type mice that resembled the radiosensitive phenotype of tumor vessels in SCID mice. Radiosensitization by IC87361 was eliminated in SCID tumor vasculature, which lack functional DNA-PK. Irradiated LLC and B16F0 tumors implanted into SCID mice showed greater tumor growth delay compared with tumors implanted into either wild-type C57BL6 or nude mice. Furthermore, LLC tumors treated with radiation and IC87361 showed tumor growth delay that was significantly greater than tumors treated with radiation alone (P < 0.01 for 3 Gy alone versus 3 Gy + IC87361). DNA-PK inhibitors induced no cytotoxicity and no toxicity in mouse normal tissues. Mouse models deficient in enzyme activity are useful to assess the specificity of novel kinase inhibitors. DNA-PK is an important target for the development of novel radiation-sensitizing drugs that have little intrinsic cytotoxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4987-4992
Number of pages6
JournalCancer research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2005


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