Dacomitinib and gedatolisib in combination with fractionated radiation in head and neck cancer

George D. Wilson, Thomas G. Wilson, Alaa Hanna, Mohamad Dabjan, Katie Buelow, John Torma, Brian Marples, Sandra Galoforo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background and purpose: There has been little success targeting individual genes in combination with radiation in head and neck cancer. In this study we investigated whether targeting two key pathways simultaneously might be more effective. Materials and methods: We studied the effect of combining dacomitinib (pan-HER, irreversible inhibitor) and gedatolisib (dual PI3K/MTOR inhibitor) with radiation in well characterized, low passage xenograft models of HNSCC in vitro and in vivo. Results: Dacomitinib showed differential growth inhibition in vitro that correlated to EGFR expression whilst gedatolisib was effective in both cell lines. Neither agent radiosensitized the cell lines in vitro. In vivo studies demonstrated that dacomitinib was an effective agent alone and in combination with radiation whilst the addition of gedatolisib did not enhance the effect of these two modalities despite inhibiting phosphorylation of key genes in the PI3K/MTOR pathway. Conclusions: Our results showed that combining two drugs with radiation provided no added benefit compared to the single most active drug. Dacomitinib deserves more investigation as a radiation sensitizing agent in HNSCC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-23
Number of pages9
JournalClinical and Translational Radiation Oncology
StatePublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Growth delay
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Radiation
  • Targeted agents
  • Xenografts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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