Combination treatment with rucaparib (Rubraca) and MDM2 inhibitors, Nutlin-3 and RG7388, has synergistic and dose reduction potential in ovarian cancer

Maryam Zanjirband, Nicola Curtin, Richard J. Edmondson, John Lunec

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ovarian cancer is the seventh most common cancer worldwide for females and the most lethal of all gynecological malignancies. The treatment of ovarian cancer remains a challenge in spite of advances in debulking surgery and changes in both chemotherapy schedules and routes of administration. Cancer treatment has recently been improving with the introduction of targeted therapies to achieve greater specificity and less cytotoxicity. Both PARP inhibitors and MDM2-p53 binding antagonists are targeted therapeutic agents entered into clinical trials. This preclinical study evaluated the effect of Nutlin-3/RG7388 and rucaparib as single agents and in combination together in a panel of ovarian cancer cell lines. Median-drug-effect analysis showed Nutlin-3/RG7388 combination with rucaparib was additive to, or synergistic in a cell type-dependent manner. Mechanism studies showed rucaparib alone had no effect on p53 stabilization or activity. Although treatment with Nutlin-3 or RG7388 induced stabilization of p53 and upregulation of p21WAF1 and MDM2, the addition of rucaparib did not enhance the p53 activation seen with the MDM2 inhibitors alone. These results demonstrate that the synergistic effect on growth inhibition observed in the combination between rucaparib and Nutlin-3/RG7388 is not the result of increased p53 molecular pathway activation. Nevertheless, combined treatment of Nutlin-3/RG7388 with rucaparib increased cell cycle arrest and apoptosis, which was marked for A2780 and IGROV-1. These data indicate that combination treatment with MDM2 inhibitors and rucaparib has synergistic and dose reduction potential for the treatment of ovarian cancer, dependent on cell type.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69779-69796
Number of pages18
Issue number41
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2017


  • Combined treatment
  • Nutlin-3/RG7388
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Rucaparib
  • Targeted therapy

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Cancer Research Centre


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