We have demonstrated that anti-sense phosphorothioate oligodeoxynucleotides (AS S-oligos) directed against the EGF-like growth factors CRIPTO (CR), amphiregulin (AR) or transforming-growth-factor-alpha(TGFalpha) mRNA, are equipotent in their ability to inhibit the growth of human colon-carcinoma GEO cells. In this study, we evaluated the effect of combinations of these AS S-oligos and conventional anti tumor drugs, such as 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), adriamycin (ADR), mitomycin C (MIT) and cis-platinum (CDDP), on GEO cell growth. Dose-dependent growth inhibition was observed by treatment either with AS S-oligos or with anti-tumor drugs, using a clonogenic assay. Furthermore, an additive growth inhibitory effect occurred when GEO cells were exposed to the AS S-oligos after treatment with different concentrations of either 5-FU, MIT, ADR or CDDP. For example, treatment of GEO cells with a combination of low concentrations of 5-FU and any of the 3 AS S-oligos resulted in up to 70% growth inhibition. However, treatment of GEO cells with AS S-oligos before exposure to 5-FU or CDDP resulted in reduced efficacy of both drugs. Flow-cytometric analysis of DNA content demonstrated that treatment with the AS S-oligos caused a slight reduction of the percentage of cells in the S-phase of the cell cycle. These data suggest that combinations of AS S-oligos directed against EGF-related growth factors and of conventional anti-tumor drugs may result in efficient inhibition of colon-carcinoma cell growth.
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