In vitro search for synergy and antagonism: evaluation of docetaxel combinations in breast cancer cell lines

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SummaryThe use of combination chemotherapy is the accepted standard for most human malignancies but little attention has been paid to drug interactions. A combination of drugs may be synergistic, additive, or antagonistic in cytotoxic activity. This study evaluated combinations of agents with docetaxel, one of the most active agents in human breast cancer, using a median effects model to look at synergy or antagonism in vitro as a potential predictor of clinical outcome. Three human breast cancer cell lines, MCF7/wt, MCF7/adr (multiply drug resistant), and BT474 were grown to confluence, plated into 96 well dishes, and incubated with combinations of drugs for 72h. Cytotoxic effect was measured by the MTT assay. Median effect analysis was used to calculate the combination index (CI) with values less than 1 indicating synergism, 1 additive effects, and greater than 1 antagonism. Potentially useful combinations for clinical study which were identified included docetaxel with vinorelbine, docetaxel with dexrazoxane, docetaxel with cis-retinoic acid, docetaxel with disulfiram and either doxorubicin or epirubicin, and docetaxel with dexrazoxane and epirubicin.

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