[EZ-Cytox] 5-Fluorouracil as a Tumor-Treating Field-Sensitizer in Colon Cancer Therapy
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a major cause of mortality that can be treated effectively with chemotherapy and radiotherapy, although resistance to these therapeutic modalities often occurs. Tumor-treating fields (TTFields) can block tumor growth by selectively impairing tumor cell division. In this study, we investigated the mechanism by which 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) sensitizes tumor cells to TTFields. Human HCT116 and SW480 CRC cells were treated with 5-FU and/or TTFields, and characterized in vitro in terms of cell viability, apoptosis through reactive oxygen species production, autophagy, and metastatic potentials. The biological effects of 5-FU and/or TTFields were studied via positron emission tomography and computed tomography on xenograft tumor growth and were confirmed with organoid models of patients. Our results revealed that combination treatment with 5-FU and TTFields increased the efficiency of TTFields therapy in colon cancer cells by downregulating signaling pathways associated with cell proliferation, survival, cell invasion, and migration while upregulating pathways mediating apoptosis and autophagic cell death. The novel mechanistic insights gleaned in this study suggest that combination therapy with TTFields and 5-FU may be effective in treating CRC, although safety and efficacy testing in patients with CRC will need to be performed before this strategy can be implemented clinically for TTF-sensitization.