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Open Access Research

Increased radiosensitivity and radiothermosensitivity of human pancreatic MIA PaCa-2 and U251 glioblastoma cell lines treated with the novel Hsp90 inhibitor NVP-HSP990

Dušan Milanović*, Elke Firat, Anca Ligia Grosu and Gabriele Niedermann

Author Affiliations

Department of Radiation Oncology, University Hospital Freiburg, Freiburg 79106, Germany

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Radiation Oncology 2013, 8:42  doi:10.1186/1748-717X-8-42

Published: 28 February 2013


Background and purpose

Heat shock Protein 90 (Hsp90) is a molecular chaperone that folds, stabilizes, and functionally regulates many cellular proteins involved in oncogenic signaling and in the regulation of radiosensitivity. It is upregulated in response to stress such a heat. Hyperthermia is a potent radiosensitizer, but induction of Hsp90 may potentially limit its efficacy. Our aim was to investigate whether the new Hsp90 inhibitor NVP-HSP990 increases radiosensitivity, thermosensitivity and radiothermosensitivity of human tumor cell lines.

Material and methods

U251 glioblastoma and MIA PaCa-2 pancreatic carcinoma cells were used. To determine clonogenic survival, colony forming assays were performed. Cell viability and proliferation were assesed by Trypan blue staining. Cell cycle and apoptosis analyses were performed by flow cytometry. DAPI staining was used to detect mitotic catastrophe.


NVP-HSP990 increased the thermosensitivity, radiosensitivity and radio-thermosensitivity of both cell lines in clonogenic assays. 72 hours after irradiation with 4 Gy, a significant reduction in cell number associated with considerable G2/M acumulation and mitotic catastrophe as well as cell death by apoptosis/necrosis was observed.


Treatment with NVP-HSP990 strongly sensitized U251 and MIA PaCa-2 cells to hyperthermia and ionizing radiation or combination thereof through augmentation of G2/M arrest, mitotic catastrophe and associated apoptosis.

Radiosensitivity; Radiothermosensitivity; NVP-HSP990