We present an approach for evaluating the efficacy of combination antitumor agent schedules that accounts for order and timing of drug administration. Our model-based approach compares in vivo tumor volume data over a time course and offers a quantitative definition for additivity of drug effects, relative to which synergism and antagonism are interpreted. We begin by fitting data from individual mice receiving at most one drug to a differential equation tumor growth/drug effect model and combine individual parameter estimates to obtain population statistics. Using two null hypotheses: (i) combination therapy is consistent with additivity or (ii) combination therapy is equivalent to treating with the more effective single agent alone, we compute predicted tumor growth trajectories and their distribution for combination treated animals. We illustrate this approach by comparing entire observed and expected tumor volume trajectories for a data set in which HER-2/neu-overexpressing MCF-7 human breast cancer xenografts are treated with a humanized, anti-HER-2 monoclonal antibody (rhuMAb HER-2), doxorubicin, or one of five proposed combination therapy schedules.
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View details for PubMedID 10557266