• Exploiting the Synergy between Carboplatin and ABT-737 in the Treatment of Ovarian Carcinomas.

      Jain, Harsh Vardhan; Richardson, Alan; Müller, A; Byrne, Helen M (2014)
      Platinum drug-resistance in ovarian cancers mediated by anti-apoptotic proteins such as Bcl-xL is a major factor contributing to the chemotherapeutic resistance of recurrent disease. Consequently, concurrent inhibition of Bcl-xL in combination with chemotherapy may improve treatment outcomes for patients. Here, we develop a mathematical model to investigate the potential of combination therapy with ABT-737, a small molecule inhibitor of Bcl-xL, and carboplatin, a platinum-based drug, on a simulated tumor xenograft. The model is calibrated against in vivo experimental data, wherein xenografts established in mice were treated with ABT-737 and/or carboplatin on a fixed periodic schedule. The validated model is used to predict the minimum drug load that will achieve a predetermined level of tumor growth inhibition, thereby maximizing the synergy between the two drugs. Our simulations suggest that the infusion-duration of each carboplatin dose is a critical parameter, with an 8-hour infusion of carboplatin given weekly combined with a daily bolus dose of ABT-737 predicted to minimize residual disease. The potential of combination therapy to prevent or delay the onset of carboplatin-resistance is also investigated. When resistance is acquired as a result of aberrant DNA-damage repair in cells treated with carboplatin, drug delivery schedules that induce tumor remission with even low doses of combination therapy can be identified. Intrinsic resistance due to pre-existing cohorts of resistant cells precludes tumor regression, but dosing strategies that extend disease-free survival periods can still be identified. These results highlight the potential of our model to accelerate the development of novel therapeutics such as BH3 mimetics.
    • The molecular basis of synergism between carboplatin and ABT-737 therapy targeting ovarian carcinomas.

      Jain, Harsh Vardhan; Müller, A (2011-02-01)
      Resistance to standard chemotherapy (carboplatin + paclitaxel) is one of the leading causes of therapeutic failure in ovarian carcinomas. Emergence of chemoresistance has been shown to be mediated in part by members of the Bcl family of proteins including the antiapoptotic protein Bcl-x(L), whose expression is correlated with shorter disease-free intervals in recurrent disease. ABT-737 is an example of one of the first small-molecule inhibitors of Bcl-2/Bcl-x(L) that has been shown to increase the sensitivity of ovarian cancer cells to carboplatin. To exploit the therapeutic potential of these two drugs and predict optimal doses and dose scheduling, it is essential to understand the molecular basis of their synergistic action. Here, we build and calibrate a mathematical model of ABT-737 and carboplatin action on an ovarian cancer cell line (IGROV-1). The model suggests that carboplatin treatment primes cells for ABT-737 therapy because of an increased dependence of cells with DNA damage on Bcl-x(L) for survival. Numerical simulations predict the existence of a threshold of Bcl-x(L) below which these cells are unable to recover. Furthermore, co- plus posttreatment of ABT-737 with carboplatin is predicted to be the best strategy to maximize synergism between these two drugs. A critical challenge in chemotherapy is to strike a balance between maximizing cell-kill while minimizing patient drug load. We show that the model can be used to compute minimal doses required for any desired fraction of cell kill. These results underscore the potential of the modeling work presented here as a valuable quantitative tool to aid in the translation of novel drugs such as ABT-737 from the experimental to clinical setting and highlight the need for close collaboration between modelers and experimental scientists.