Radiosensitizing effects of the prenyltransferase inhibitor AZD3409 against RAS mutated cell lines

Keith A. Cengel, Eric Deutsch, Trevor C. Stephens, K. Ranh Voong, Gary D. Kao, Eric J. Bernhard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Mutations at the H-, N- and K-ras loci are among the most frequent genetic alterations in human cancers. In this study, we have investigated the effect of AZD3409, a novel, peptidomimetic prenyltransferase inhibitor (PTI), on the radiosensitivity of cells with mutated ras alleles. AZD3409, developed by AstraZeneca, inhibits both farnesyl- and geranylgeranyl transferase in cell free systems. AZD3409 inhibits the growth of a variety of human cancer cell lines, including cells that express mutant alleles of either K- or H- ras and was well tolerated when administered orally to healthy volunteers in a phase I clinical trial. We have previously shown that PTI can radiosensitize human and rodent cancer cell lines that express activated RAS. Here we assessed the ability of AZD3409 to radiosensitize human cancer cell lines in vivo and in vitro and the activation state of RAS proteins in treated cells. Once daily oral administration of AZD3409 to nude mice bearing PSN-1 and MiaPaCa-2 human pancreatic cancer xenografts expressing mutant K-ras was well tolerated and resulted in a supra-additive reduction in clonogenic cell survival after irradiation. Similarly, AZD3409 reduced clonogenic survival in cells that express either mutant K- or H- ras in vitro. We next examined the effect of AZD3409 on the processing and activation of K- and H-RAS. AZD3409-mediated radiosensitization, both in vivo and in vitro, correlates with a decrease in H-RAS processing without detectable effect on K-RAS processing. RAS activation assays show that the decreased H-RAS processing is accompanied by decreased H-RAS activation in cell lines with mutations in either K- or H-ras. However, no decrease in K-RAS activation was detected. Thus, radiosensitization of human cancer cells that express mutated K-RAS occurred under conditions where AZD3409 inhibits the activation of farnesylated H-RAS, but did not inhibit K-RAS activation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1206-1210
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Biology and Therapy
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Prenyltransferase
  • RAS
  • Radiation
  • Xenograft

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Radiosensitizing effects of the prenyltransferase inhibitor AZD3409 against RAS mutated cell lines'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this