Radiotherapy is one major curative treatment modality for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) patients. This study aimed to find out small-molecular kinase inhibitors, which can significantly enhance the radiosensitivity of ESCC in vitro and in vivo.
Ninety-three kinase inhibitors were tested for their radiosensitizing effect in ESCC cells through high-content screening. The radiosensitizing effect of kinase inhibitors was investigated in vitro by detection of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) and clonogenic survival assay. By the establishment of xenograft tumor models in BALB/c nude mice, the radiosensitizing effect of kinase inhibitors was investigated in vivo.
Among the 93 kinase inhibitors tested, we found NVP-BSK805, an inhibitor of JAK2 kinase, significantly radiosensitized ESCC cells through enhancing DSBs, inhibiting DNA damage repair and arresting cell cycle in G2/M or G0/G1 phase. After treatment with NVP-BSK805, ESCC cells showed decreased clonogenic survival and delayed tumor growth in vivo. JAK2 kinase was highly expressed in tumor tissues of ESCC patients, while rarely expressed in matched normal esophageal epithelial tissues. Survival analysis revealed JAK2 kinase as a prognostic factor of ESCC patients treated with chemoradiotherapy.