Oxaliplatin-DNA Adducts as Predictive Biomarkers of FOLFOX Response in Colorectal Cancer: A Potential Treatment Optimization Strategy

Maike Zimmermann, Tao Li, Thomas J. Semrad, Chun Yi Wu, Aiming Yu, George Cimino, Michael Malfatti, Kurt Haack, Kenneth W. Turteltaub, Chong Xian Pan, May Cho, Edward J. Kim, Paul T. Henderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


FOLFOX is one of the most effective treatments for advanced colorectal cancer. However, cumulative oxaliplatin neurotoxicity often results in halting the therapy. Oxaliplatin functions predominantly via the formation of toxic covalent drug-DNA adducts. We hypothesize that oxaliplatin-DNA adduct levels formed in vivo in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) are proportional to tumor shrinkage caused by FOLFOX therapy. We further hypothesize that adducts induced by subtherapeutic "diagnostic microdoses" are proportional to those induced by therapeutic doses and are also predictive of response to FOLFOX therapy. These hypotheses were tested in colorectal cancer cell lines and a pilot clinical study. Four colorectal cancer cell lines were cultured with therapeutically relevant (100 μmol/L) or diagnostic microdose (1 μmol/L) concentrations of [14C]oxaliplatin. The C-14 label enabled quantification of oxaliplatin-DNA adduct level with accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). Oxaliplatin-DNA adduct formation was correlated with oxaliplatin cytotoxicity for each cell line as measured by the MTT viability assay. Six colorectal cancer patients received by intravenous route a diagnostic microdose containing [14C]oxaliplatin prior to treatment, as well as a second [14C]oxaliplatin dose during FOLFOX chemotherapy, termed a "therapeutic dose." Oxaliplatin-DNA adduct levels from PBMC correlated significantly to mean tumor volume change of evaluable target lesions (5 of the 6 patients had measurable disease). Oxaliplatin-DNA adduct levels were linearly proportional between microdose and therapeutically relevant concentrations in cell culture experiments and patient samples, as was plasma pharmacokinetics, indicating potential utility of diagnostic microdosing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1070-1079
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular cancer therapeutics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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