The use of tumor-Treating fields (TTFields) has revolutionized the treatment of recurrent and newly diagnosed glioblastoma (GBM). TTFields are low-intensity, intermediate frequency, alternating electric fields that are applied to tumor regions and cells using non-invasive arrays. The predominant mechanism by which TTFields are thought to kill tumor cells is the disruption of mitosis. Using five non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines we found that there is a variable response in cell proliferation and cell killing between these NSCLC cell lines that was independent of p53 status. TTFields treatment increased the G2/M population, with a concomitant reduction in S-phase cells followed by the appearance of a sub-G1 population indicative of apoptosis. Temporal changes in gene expression during TTFields exposure was evaluated to identify molecular signaling changes underlying the differential TTFields response. The most differentially expressed genes were associated with the cell cycle and cell proliferation pathways. However, the expression of genes found within the BRCA1 DNA-damage response were significantly downregulated (Po<.05) during TTFields treatment. DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair foci increased when cells were exposed to TTFields as did the appearance of chromatid-Type aberrations, suggesting an interphase mechanism responsible for cell death involving DNA repair. Exposing cells to TTFields immediately following ionizing radiation resulted in increased chromatid aberrations and a reduced capacity to repair DNA DSBs, which were likely responsible for at least a portion of the enhanced cell killing seen with the combination. These findings suggest that TTFields induce a state of 'BRCAness' leading to a conditional susceptibility resulting in enhanced sensitivity to ionizing radiation and provides a strong rationale for the use of TTFields as a combined modality therapy with radiation or other DNA-damaging agents.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology
- Cancer Research