A radioprotective effect of imatinib (Gleevec®) in human squamous carcinoma cells

Detlef Bartkowiak, Peter R. Hipp, Marc S. Mendonca, Erwin M. Röttinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: To study the radiation response-modifying effect of imatinib (Gleevec®) in a squamous cell carcinoma line, PECA. Material and Methods: Cytotoxicity was determined by colony forming and multiplying capacity. Drug stability was shown by HPLC. Multidrug resistance phenotype was studied by rhodamine-123 efflux. Cell-cycle responses were measured by flow cytometry. Homologous recombination repair was determined by Rad51 immunohistochemistry. Results: Inactivating 50% of the PECA cells required approximately 7 μM imatinib. The drug did not decay nor was it degraded during test periods. Drug efflux occurred only to a minor extent. Multiplying capacity but not survival fractions revealed a radioprotective effect of imatinib. There were only minor cell-cycle alterations in the presence of imatinib but the rate of Rad51-positive repair foci was significantly increased. Conclusion: PECA cells apparently lack a highly specific target for imatinib. In cells surviving at high drug concentrations, imatinib may exert a radioprotective effect on multiplying capacity by inducing DNA repair. Under prolonged exposure, drug-resistant cells may show an accelerated recovery from acute or delayed radiation damage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)432-439
Number of pages8
JournalStrahlentherapie und Onkologie
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2007


  • Gleevec®
  • Imatinib
  • Protection
  • Radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology

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