Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) accounts for about 13% of all lung cancer cases and is the most aggressive form of lung cancer. Cisplatin and cisplatin-based combination therapies are the cornerstone of SCLC treatment. Platinum refractoriness is defined as disease which has persisted or progressed (grown) while receiving cisplatin chemotherapy. Patients with platinum resistant or refractory disease have very limited options, as the only standard chemotherapy with an FDA-approved drug, topotecan, has an objective response rate of approximately 3% and little or no survival benefit. Topotecan is a derivative of camptothecin. The objective of our study was to examine whether capsaicin could sensitize human SCLC cells to the apoptotic effects of camptothecin. We observed that the combination of capsaicin and camptothecin displays significantly higher apoptotic activity in human SCLC cell lines as compared to either agent alone. Chou-Talalay analysis showed that the interactions between capsaicin and camptothecin were synergistic. We also measured the effect of capsaicin-camptothecin combination on several Bcl-2 family proteins, namely Bcl-2, Bax, Bak, Bcl-XL, Mcl-1, etc. The results of our studies may be of importance in therapy of platinum-refractory SCLCs.

Citation Format: Haley E. Perry, Kathleen C. Brown, Cathryn D. Stevenson, William D. Rollyson, Cody A. Stover, Piyali Dasgupta. Combinatorial apoptotic activity of capsaicin and camptothecin in human small cell lung cancer. [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 106th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2015 Apr 18-22; Philadelphia, PA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2015;75(15 Suppl):Abstract nr 3480. doi:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2015-3480