BCL2L1

Gene Summary

Gene:BCL2L1; BCL2-like 1
Aliases: BCLX, BCL2L, BCLXL, BCLXS, Bcl-X, bcl-xL, bcl-xS, PPP1R52, BCL-XL/S
Location:20q11.21
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene belongs to the BCL-2 protein family. BCL-2 family members form hetero- or homodimers and act as anti- or pro-apoptotic regulators that are involved in a wide variety of cellular activities. The proteins encoded by this gene are located at the outer mitochondrial membrane, and have been shown to regulate outer mitochondrial membrane channel (VDAC) opening. VDAC regulates mitochondrial membrane potential, and thus controls the production of reactive oxygen species and release of cytochrome C by mitochondria, both of which are the potent inducers of cell apoptosis. Two alternatively spliced transcript variants, which encode distinct isoforms, have been reported. The longer isoform acts as an apoptotic inhibitor and the shorter form acts as an apoptotic activator. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:bcl-2-like protein 1
HPRD
Source:NCBIAccessed: 20 August, 2015

Ontology:

What does this gene/protein do?
Show (46)
Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
Show (4)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 20 August 2015 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • NF-kappa B
  • Caspase 3
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein
  • Mutation
  • Xenograft Models
  • Biphenyl Compounds
  • Mitochondria
  • Drug Synergism
  • bcl-X Protein
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Western Blotting
  • Messenger RNA
  • Down-Regulation
  • Chromosome 20
  • BCL2 protein
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • RNA Interference
  • Transcription
  • Nitrophenols
  • Apoptosis
  • Sulfonamides
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • BAK1
  • Phosphorylation
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Cell Cycle
  • siRNA
  • Cell Survival
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Drug Resistance
  • Piperazines
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Myeloid Cell Leukemia Sequence 1 Protein
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Breast Cancer
  • Lung Cancer
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Ovarian Cancer
Tag cloud generated 20 August, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (3)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: BCL2L1 (cancer-related)

Park GB, Hur DY, Kim D
Combining CAL-101 with Celecoxib Enhances Apoptosis of EBV-transformed B-Cells Through MAPK-induced ER Stress.
Anticancer Res. 2015; 35(5):2699-708 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Phosphoinositide-3 kinase (PI3K) inhibition attenuates proliferation and survival in B-cell malignancies. Celecoxib induces endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-induced apoptosis via a cyclo-oxgenase-2 (COX2)-independent manner in certain types of cancer cells. In the present study, we assessed the effects of combinations of drugs with a p110δ-specific inhibitor, CAL-101, and celecoxib to induce apoptosis in Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-transformed B-cells and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) cells.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The apoptotic effect of combination treatment with CAL-101 and celecoxib on B-cell malignancies was determined by flow cytometry and immunoblotting.
RESULTS: Exposure to CAL-101 and celecoxib significantly increased apoptosis, which was accompanied by the inactivation of AKT, Ras homolog gene family, member A (RHOA), Rho-associated coiled-coil containing protein kinase 1 (ROCK1), and ROCK2 as well as up-regulation of Phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN). Co-treatment with CAL-101 and celecoxib triggered the ER stress response and the down-regulation of BCL2 and BCL-XL. SB203580, SP600125, and salubrinal effectively inhibited apoptosis and attenuated expression of phosphorylated protein kinase RNA-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase (PERK) and CCAAT-enhancer-binding protein homologous protein (CHOP). Levels of apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1) were also increased after treatment with CAL-101 and celecoxib.
CONCLUSION: The apoptosis of EBV-transformed B-cells and NHL cells caused by CAL-101 and celecoxib might be related to inhibiting the RHOA/ROCK pathway and might also be associated with mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)-mediated ER stress.

Kummalue T, Inoue T, Miura Y, et al.
Ribosomal protein L11- and retinol dehydrogenase 11-induced erythroid proliferation without erythropoietin in UT-7/Epo erythroleukemic cells.
Exp Hematol. 2015; 43(5):414-423.e1 [PubMed] Related Publications
Erythropoiesis is the process of proliferation, differentiation, and maturation of erythroid cells. Understanding these steps will help to elucidate the basis of specific diseases associated with abnormal production of red blood cells. In this study, we continued our efforts to identify genes involved in erythroid proliferation. Lentivirally transduced UT-7/Epo erythroleukemic cells expressing ribosomal protein L11 (RPL11) or retinol dehydrogenase 11 (RDH11) could proliferate in the absence of erythropoietin, and their cell-cycle profiles revealed G0/G1 prolongation and low percentages of apoptosis. RPL11-expressing cells proliferated more rapidly than the RDH11-expressing cells. The antiapoptotic proteins BCL-XL and BCL-2 were expressed in both cell lines. Unlike the parental UT-7/Epo cells, the expression of hemoglobins (Hbs) in the transduced cells had switched from adult to fetal type. Several signal transduction pathways, including STAT5, were highly activated in transduced cells; furthermore, expression of the downstream target genes of STAT5, such as CCND1, was upregulated in the transduced cells. Taken together, the data indicate that RPL11 and RDH11 accelerate erythroid cell proliferation by upregulating the STAT5 signaling pathway with phosphorylation of Lyn and cyclic AMP response element-binding protein (CREB).

Chen S, Chen X, Xiu YL, et al.
MicroRNA-490-3P targets CDK1 and inhibits ovarian epithelial carcinoma tumorigenesis and progression.
Cancer Lett. 2015; 362(1):122-30 [PubMed] Related Publications
The expression of microRNA-490-3P has been reported to regulate hepatocellular carcinoma cell proliferation, migration and invasion, and its overexpression significantly inhibits A549 lung cancer cell proliferation. Here, we demonstrated for the first time that miR-490 mRNA expression was significantly lower in ovarian carcinoma and borderline tumors compared to benign tumors, and lower in metastatic ovarian carcinoma (omentum) than primary ovarian carcinoma, and was negatively associated with differentiation and International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) staging. MiR-490-3P overexpression promoted G1/S or G2/M arrest and apoptosis; reduced cell proliferation, migration and invasion; reduced CDK1, Bcl-xL, MMP2/9, CCND1, SMARCD1 mRNA or protein expression; and induced P53 expression. Dual-luciferase reporter assay indicated miR-490-3P directly targeted CDK1. In vivo studies showed that miR-490-3P transfection suppressed tumor development and CDK1, Bcl-xL, MMP2/9 expression while inducing P53 expression. These findings indicate that miR-490-3P may target CDK1 and inhibit ovarian epithelial carcinoma tumorigenesis and progression.

Faber AC, Farago AF, Costa C, et al.
Assessment of ABT-263 activity across a cancer cell line collection leads to a potent combination therapy for small-cell lung cancer.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015; 112(11):E1288-96 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 17/09/2015 Related Publications
BH3 mimetics such as ABT-263 induce apoptosis in a subset of cancer models. However, these drugs have shown limited clinical efficacy as single agents in small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) and other solid tumor malignancies, and rational combination strategies remain underexplored. To develop a novel therapeutic approach, we examined the efficacy of ABT-263 across >500 cancer cell lines, including 311 for which we had matched expression data for select genes. We found that high expression of the proapoptotic gene Bcl2-interacting mediator of cell death (BIM) predicts sensitivity to ABT-263. In particular, SCLC cell lines possessed greater BIM transcript levels than most other solid tumors and are among the most sensitive to ABT-263. However, a subset of relatively resistant SCLC cell lines has concomitant high expression of the antiapoptotic myeloid cell leukemia 1 (MCL-1). Whereas ABT-263 released BIM from complexes with BCL-2 and BCL-XL, high expression of MCL-1 sequestered BIM released from BCL-2 and BCL-XL, thereby abrogating apoptosis. We found that SCLCs were sensitized to ABT-263 via TORC1/2 inhibition, which led to reduced MCL-1 protein levels, thereby facilitating BIM-mediated apoptosis. AZD8055 and ABT-263 together induced marked apoptosis in vitro, as well as tumor regressions in multiple SCLC xenograft models. In a Tp53; Rb1 deletion genetically engineered mouse model of SCLC, the combination of ABT-263 and AZD8055 significantly repressed tumor growth and induced tumor regressions compared with either drug alone. Furthermore, in a SCLC patient-derived xenograft model that was resistant to ABT-263 alone, the addition of AZD8055 induced potent tumor regression. Therefore, addition of a TORC1/2 inhibitor offers a therapeutic strategy to markedly improve ABT-263 activity in SCLC.

Zhou M, Wang T, Lai H, et al.
Targeting of the deubiquitinase USP9X attenuates B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia cell survival and overcomes glucocorticoid resistance.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2015; 459(2):333-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Although previous studies attributed a pro-survival role to USP9X in human cancer, how USP9X affects B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) remains unclear. Here, we found that USP9X is overexpressed in B-ALL cell lines and human patients. We investigated the role of USP9X in B-ALL and found that USP9X knockdown significantly reduced leukemic cell growth and increased spontaneous apoptosis, thereby improving survival in immunodeficient mice. These effects are partially mediated by the intrinsic apoptotic pathway, as we found that USP9X-knockdown leukemic cells displayed MCL1 down-regulation, with decreased BCL-2/BCL-XL levels and increased BAX levels. In addition, we demonstrated that USP9X inhibition negatively regulates mTORC1 activity toward its substrate S6K1. Clinically, USP9X inhibition sensitized glucocorticoid-resistant ALL cells to prednisolone; this observation reveals a potential avenue for improving the treatment of drug-resistant relapses. Collectively, our findings suggest that the combination of USP9X targeting and glucocorticoids treatment has attractive utility in B-ALL. This approach represents a potential strategy for promising combination therapies for lymphoid malignancies.

Xie T, Li SJ, Guo MR, et al.
Untangling knots between autophagic targets and candidate drugs, in cancer therapy.
Cell Prolif. 2015; 48(2):119-39 [PubMed] Related Publications
Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved lysosomal mechanism implicated in a wide variety of pathological processes, such as cancer. Autophagy can be regulated by a limited number of autophagy-related genes (Atgs) such as oncogenic Bcl-2/Bcl-XL , mTORC1, Akt and PI3KCI, and tumour suppressive proteins PI3KCIII, Beclin-1, Bif-1, p53, DAPKs, PTEN and UVRAG, which play their crucial roles in regulating autophagy-related cancer. As autophagy has a dual role in cancer cells, with tumour-promoting and tumour-suppressing properties, it has become an attractive target for a series of emerging small molecule drugs. In this review, we reveal new discoveries of related small molecules or chemical compounds that can regulate autophagic pathways and lead to pro-death or pro-survival autophagy, in different types of cancer. We discuss the knots between autophagic targets and candidate drugs, in the hope of shedding new light on exploiting new anti-tumour small molecule drugs for future cancer therapy.

Balan M, Mier y Teran E, Waaga-Gasser AM, et al.
Novel roles of c-Met in the survival of renal cancer cells through the regulation of HO-1 and PD-L1 expression.
J Biol Chem. 2015; 290(13):8110-20 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 27/03/2016 Related Publications
The receptor tyrosine kinase c-Met is overexpressed in renal cancer cells and can play major role in the growth and survival of tumor. We investigated how the c-Met-mediated signaling through binding to its ligand hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) can modulate the apoptosis and immune escape mechanism(s) of renal cancer cells by the regulations of novel molecules heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and programmed death-1 ligand 1 (PD-L1). We found that HGF/c-Met-mediated signaling activated the Ras/Raf pathway and down-regulated cancer cell apoptosis; and it was associated with the overexpression of cytoprotective HO-1 and anti-apoptotic Bcl-2/Bcl-xL. c-Met-induced HO-1 overexpression was regulated at the transcriptional level. Next, we observed that c-Met induction markedly up-regulated the expression of the negative co-stimulatory molecule PD-L1, and this can be prevented following treatment of the cells with pharmacological inhibitors of c-Met. Interestingly, HGF/c-Met-mediated signaling could not induce PD-L1 at the optimum level when either Ras or HO-1 was knocked down. To study the functional significance of c-Met-induced PD-L1 expression, we performed a co-culture assay using mouse splenocytes (expressing PD-L1 receptor PD-1) and murine renal cancer cells (RENCA, expressing high PD-L1). We observed that the splenocyte-mediated apoptosis of cancer cells during co-culture was markedly increased in the presence of either c-Met inhibitor or PD-L1 neutralizing antibody. Finally, we found that both c-Met and PD-L1 are significantly up-regulated and co-localized in human renal cancer tissues. Together, our study suggests a novel mechanism(s) by which c-Met can promote increased survival of renal cancer cells through the regulation of HO-1 and PD-L1.

Jeon YJ, Jung SN, Yun J, et al.
Ginkgetin inhibits the growth of DU-145 prostate cancer cells through inhibition of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 activity.
Cancer Sci. 2015; 106(4):413-20 [PubMed] Related Publications
Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) is constitutively activated in human cancers. Therefore, STAT3 is a therapeutic target of cancer drug discovery. We previously reported that natural products inhibited constitutively activated STAT3 in human prostate tumor cells. We used a dual-luciferase assay to screen 200 natural products isolated from herbal medicines and we identified ginkgetin obtained from the leaves of Ginkgo biloba L. as a STAT3 inhibitor. Ginkgetin inhibited both inducible and constitutively activated STAT3 and blocked the nuclear translocation of p-STAT3 in DU-145 prostate cancer cells. Furthermore, ginkgetin selectively inhibited the growth of prostate tumor cells stimulated with activated STAT3. Ginkgetin induced STAT3 dephosphorylation at Try705 and inhibited its localization to the nucleus, leading to the inhibition of expression of STAT3 target genes such as cell survival-related genes (cyclin D1 and survivin) and anti-apoptotic proteins (Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL). Therefore, ginkgetin inhibited the growth of STAT3-activated tumor cells. We also found that ginkgetin inhibited tumor growth in xenografted nude mice and downregulated p-STAT3(Tyr705) and survivin in tumor tissues. This is the first report that ginkgetin exerts antitumor activity by inhibiting STAT3. Therefore, ginkgetin is a good STAT3 inhibitor and may be a useful lead molecule for development of a therapeutic STAT3 inhibitor.

Safa M, Tavasoli B, Manafi R, et al.
Indole-3-carbinol suppresses NF-κB activity and stimulates the p53 pathway in pre-B acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells.
Tumour Biol. 2015; 36(5):3919-30 [PubMed] Related Publications
B cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCP-ALL) is the most common type of cancer in children. Dramatic improvements in primary therapy for childhood ALL have led to an overall cure rate of 80 %, providing opportunities for innovative combined-modality strategies that would increase cure rates while reducing the toxic side effects of current intensive regimens. In this study, we report that indole-3-carbinol (I3C), a natural phytochemical found in cruciferous vegetables, had anti-leukemic properties in BCP-ALL NALM-6 cells. I3C induced cell growth inhibition by G1 cell cycle arrest and triggered apoptosis in a dose- and time-dependent manner. p53, p21, and Bax proteins showed increased expression after I3C treatment. Real-time PCR analysis of pro-apoptotic p53 target genes revealed up-regulation of PUMA, NOXA, and Apaf-1. I3C also suppressed constitutive nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) activation and inhibited the protein expression of NF-kappa B-regulated antiapoptotic (IAP1, Bcl-xL, Bcl-2, XIAP) and proliferative (c-Myc) gene products. Coadministration of I3C with the topoisomerase II inhibitor, doxorubicin, potentiates cytotoxic effects compared with either agent alone. Apoptosis induction by the drug combination was associated with enhanced caspase-9 activation and PARP cleavage. Furthermore, I3C abolished doxorubicin-induced NF-κB activity as evidenced by decreased nuclear accumulation of p65, inhibition of IκBα phosphorylation and its degradation, and decreased NF-κB DNA-binding activity. Western blot analysis revealed that doxorubicin-induced Bcl-2 protein expression was inhibited by I3C. Overall, our results indicated that using nontoxic agents, such as I3C, in combination with anthracyclines might provide a new insight into the development of novel combination therapies in childhood BCP-ALL.

Sochalska M, Tuzlak S, Egle A, Villunger A
Lessons from gain- and loss-of-function models of pro-survival Bcl2 family proteins: implications for targeted therapy.
FEBS J. 2015; 282(5):834-49 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cell survival depends on the maintenance of mitochondrial integrity controlled by a well-balanced interplay between anti- and pro-apoptotic B cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl2) family members. Given their frequent deregulation in human pathologies, including autoimmunity and cancer, significant research efforts have increased our molecular understanding of how Bcl2 proteins control cell death. This has fostered the development of small non-peptidic compounds, so-called BH3-mimetics, that show excellent prospects of passing clinical trials and entering daily use for targeted therapy. Possible limitations in clinical application may, to a certain degree, be predicted from loss-of-function phenotypes gathered from studies using gene-modified mice that we attempt to summarize and discuss in this context.

Hennig D, Müller S, Wichmann C, et al.
Antagonism between granulocytic maturation and deacetylase inhibitor-induced apoptosis in acute promyelocytic leukaemia cells.
Br J Cancer. 2015; 112(2):329-37 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 20/01/2016 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Transcriptional repression is a key mechanism driving leukaemogenesis. In acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APL), the fusion protein promyelocytic leukaemia-retinoic acid receptor-α fusion (PML-RARα) recruits transcriptional repressors to myeloid differentiation genes. All-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA) induces the proteasomal degradation of PML-RARα and granulocytic differentiation. Histone deacetylases (HDACs) fall into four classes (I-IV) and contribute to the transcription block caused by PML-RARα.
METHODS: Immunoblot, flow cytometry, and May-Grünwald-Giemsa staining were used to analyze differentiation and induction of apoptosis.
RESULTS: A PML-RARα- and ATRA-dependent differentiation programme induces granulocytic maturation associated with an accumulation of the myeloid transcription factor CCAAT/enhancer binding protein (C/EBP)ɛ and of the surface protein CD11b. While this process protects APL cells from inhibitors of class I HDAC activity, inhibition of all Zinc-dependent HDACs (classes I, II, and IV) with the pan-HDACi (histone deacetylase inhibitor(s)) LBH589 induces apoptosis of immature and differentiated APL cells. LBH589 can eliminate C/EBPɛ and the mitochondrial apoptosis regulator B-cell lymphoma (BCL)-xL in immature and differentiated NB4 cells. Thus, BCL-xL and C/EBPɛ are newly identified molecular markers for the efficacy of HDACi against APL cells.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results could explain the therapeutic limitations occurring with ATRA and class I HDACi combinations. Pro-apoptotic effects caused by pan-HDAC inhibition are not blunted by ATRA-induced differentiation and may provide a clinically interesting alternative.

Modugno M, Banfi P, Gasparri F, et al.
Mcl-1 antagonism is a potential therapeutic strategy in a subset of solid cancers.
Exp Cell Res. 2015; 332(2):267-77 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cancer cell survival is frequently dependent on the elevated levels of members of the Bcl-2 family of prosurvival proteins that bind to and inactivate BH3-domain pro-apoptotic cellular proteins. Small molecules that inhibit the protein-protein interactions between prosurvival and proapoptotic Bcl-2 family members (so-called "BH3 mimetics") have a potential therapeutic value, as indicated by clinical findings obtained with ABT-263 (navitoclax), a Bcl-2/Bcl-xL antagonist, and more recently with GDC-0199/ABT-199, a more selective antagonist of Bcl-2. Here, we report study results of the functional role of the prosurvival protein Mcl-1 against a panel of solid cancer cell lines representative of different tumor types. We observed silencing of Mcl-1 expression by small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) significantly reduced viability and induced apoptosis in almost 30% of cell lines tested, including lung and breast adenocarcinoma, as well as glioblastoma derived lines. Most importantly, we provide a mechanistic basis for this sensitivity by showing antagonism of Mcl-1 function with specific BH3 peptides against isolated mitochondria induces Bak oligomerization and cytochrome c release, therefore demonstrating that mitochondria from Mcl-1-sensitive cells depend on Mcl-1 for their integrity and that antagonizing Mcl-1 function is sufficient to induce apoptosis. Thus, our results lend further support for considering Mcl-1 as a therapeutic target in a number of solid cancers and support the rationale for development of small molecule BH3-mimetics antagonists of this protein.

Bhola NE, Jansen VM, Bafna S, et al.
Kinome-wide functional screen identifies role of PLK1 in hormone-independent, ER-positive breast cancer.
Cancer Res. 2015; 75(2):405-14 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/01/2016 Related Publications
Estrogen receptor (ER) α-positive breast cancers initially respond to antiestrogens but eventually become estrogen independent and recur. ER(+) breast cancer cells resistant to long-term estrogen deprivation (LTED) exhibit hormone-independent ER transcriptional activity and growth. A kinome-wide siRNA screen using a library targeting 720 kinases identified Polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1) as one of the top genes whose downregulation resulted in inhibition of estrogen-independent ER transcriptional activity and growth of LTED cells. High PLK1 mRNA and protein correlated with a high Ki-67 score in primary ER(+) breast cancers after treatment with the aromatase inhibitor letrozole. RNAi-mediated knockdown of PLK1 inhibited ER expression, estrogen-independent growth, and ER transcription in MCF7 and HCC1428 LTED cells. Pharmacologic inhibition of PLK1 with volasertib, a small-molecule ATP-competitive PLK1 inhibitor, decreased LTED cell growth, ER transcriptional activity, and ER expression. Volasertib in combination with the ER antagonist, fulvestrant, decreased MCF7 xenograft growth in ovariectomized mice more potently than each drug alone. JUNB, a component of the AP-1 complex, was expressed 16-fold higher in MCF7/LTED compared with parental MCF7 cells. Furthermore, JUNB and BCL2L1 (which encodes antiapoptotic BCL-xL) mRNA levels were markedly reduced upon volasertib treatment in MCF7/LTED cells, while they were increased in parental MCF7 cells. Finally, JUNB knockdown decreased ER expression and transcriptional activity in MCF7/LTED cells, suggesting that PLK1 drives ER expression and estrogen-independent growth via JUNB. These data support a critical role of PLK1 in acquired hormone-independent growth of ER(+) human breast cancer and is therefore a promising target in tumors that have escaped estrogen deprivation therapy.

Bernusso VA, Machado-Neto JA, Pericole FV, et al.
Imatinib restores VASP activity and its interaction with Zyxin in BCR-ABL leukemic cells.
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2015; 1853(2):388-95 [PubMed] Related Publications
Vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP) and Zyxin are interacting proteins involved in cellular adhesion and motility. PKA phosphorylates VASP at serine 157, regulating VASP cellular functions. VASP interacts with ABL and is a substrate of the BCR-ABL oncoprotein. The presence of BCR-ABL protein drives oncogenesis in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) due to a constitutive activation of tyrosine kinase activity. However, the function of VASP and Zyxin in BCR-ABL pathway and the role of VASP in CML cells remain unknown. In vitro experiments using K562 cells showed the involvement of VASP in BCR-ABL signaling. VASP and Zyxin inhibition decreased the expression of anti-apoptotic proteins, BCL2 and BCL-XL. Imatinib induced an increase in phosphorylation at Ser157 of VASP and decreased VASP and BCR-ABL interaction. VASP did not interact with Zyxin in K562 cells; however, after Imatinib treatment, this interaction was restored. Corroborating our data, we demonstrated the absence of phosphorylation at Ser157 in VASP in the bone marrow of CML patients, in contrast to healthy donors. Phosphorylation of VASP on Ser157 was restored in Imatinib responsive patients though not in the resistant patients. Therefore, we herein identified a possible role of VASP in CML pathogenesis, through the regulation of BCR-ABL effector proteins or the absence of phosphorylation at Ser157 in VASP.

Pratheeshkumar P, Son YO, Divya SP, et al.
Luteolin inhibits Cr(VI)-induced malignant cell transformation of human lung epithelial cells by targeting ROS mediated multiple cell signaling pathways.
Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2014; 281(2):230-41 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
Hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] is a well-known human carcinogen associated with the incidence of lung cancer. Inhibition of metal induced carcinogenesis by a dietary antioxidant is a novel approach. Luteolin, a natural dietary flavonoid found in fruits and vegetables, possesses potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. We found that short term exposure of human bronchial epithelial cells (BEAS-2B) to Cr(VI) (5μM) showed a drastic increase in ROS generation, NADPH oxidase (NOX) activation, lipid peroxidation, and glutathione depletion, which were significantly inhibited by the treatment with luteolin in a dose dependent manner. Treatment with luteolin decreased AP-1, HIF-1α, COX-2, and iNOS promoter activity induced by Cr(VI) in BEAS-2B cells. In addition, luteolin protected BEAS-2B cells from malignant transformation induced by chronic Cr(VI) exposure. Moreover, luteolin also inhibited the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, TNF-α) and VEGF in chronic Cr(VI) exposed BEAS-2B cells. Western blot analysis showed that luteolin inhibited multiple gene products linked to survival (Akt, Fak, Bcl-2, Bcl-xL), inflammation (MAPK, NF-κB, COX-2, STAT-3, iNOS, TNF-α) and angiogenesis (HIF-1α, VEGF, MMP-9) in chronic Cr(VI) exposed BEAS-2B cells. Nude mice injected with BEAS-2B cells chronically exposed to Cr(VI) in the presence of luteolin showed reduced tumor incidence compared to Cr(VI) alone treated group. Overexpression of catalase (CAT) or SOD2, eliminated Cr(VI)-induced malignant transformation. Overall, our results indicate that luteolin protects BEAS-2B cells from Cr(VI)-induced carcinogenesis by scavenging ROS and modulating multiple cell signaling mechanisms that are linked to ROS. Luteolin, therefore, serves as a potential chemopreventive agent against Cr(VI)-induced carcinogenesis.

Zhai B, Jiang X, He C, et al.
Arsenic trioxide potentiates the anti-cancer activities of sorafenib against hepatocellular carcinoma by inhibiting Akt activation.
Tumour Biol. 2015; 36(4):2323-34 [PubMed] Related Publications
Sorafenib is the standard first-line systemic drug for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but it also induces the activation of Akt, which contributes to the mechanisms for the resistance to sorafenib. Arsenic trioxide (ATO) is a currently clinically used anticancer drug and displays its anticancer activities by inhibiting Akt activation. Therefore, we hypothesized that ATO may potentiate the anti-cancer activities of sorafenib against HCC. The results have demonstrated that ATO synergized with sorafenib to inhibit the proliferation and promote the apoptosis of HCC cells by diminishing the increased activation of Akt by sorafenib. ATO was shown to inhibit the expression or activation of Akt downstream factors, including glycogen synthase kinase (GSK)-3β, mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), ribosomal protein S6 kinase (S6K), and eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E-binding protein 1 (4EBP1), which regulate cell apoptosis and were upregulated or activated by sorafenib. Both sorafenib and ATO downregulated the expression of cyclin D1, resulting in HCC cells arrested at G0/G1 phase. ATO downregulated the expression of Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL and upregulated the expression of Bax, indicating that ATO could induce the apoptosis of HCC cells through the intrinsic pathways; but sorafenib showed little effects on these proteins of Bcl-2 family. ATO synergized with sorafenib to suppress the growth of HCC tumors established in mice by inhibiting the proliferation and inducing the apoptosis of HCC cells in situ. These results indicate that ATO may be a potential agent that given in combination with sorafenib acts synergistically for treating HCC.

Lee YJ, Hwang IS, Lee YJ, et al.
Knockdown of Bcl-xL enhances growth-inhibiting and apoptosis-inducing effects of resveratrol and clofarabine in malignant mesothelioma H-2452 cells.
J Korean Med Sci. 2014; 29(11):1464-72 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
Mcl-1 and Bcl-xL, key anti-apoptotic proteins of the Bcl-2 family, have attracted attention as important molecules in the cell survival and drug resistance. In this study, we investigated whether inhibition of Bcl-xL influences cell growth and apoptosis against simultaneous treatment of resveratrol and clofarabine in the human malignant mesothelioma H-2452 cells. Resveratrol and clofarabine decreased Mcl-1 protein levels but had little effect on Bcl-xL levels. In the presence of two compounds, any detectable change in the Mcl-1 mRNA levels was not observed in RT-PCR analysis, whereas pretreatment with the proteasome inhibitor MG132 led to its accumulation to levels far above basal levels. The knockdown of Bcl-xL inhibited cell proliferation with cell accumulation at G2/M phase and the appearance of sub-G0/G1 peak in DNA flow cytometric assay. The suppression of cell growth was accompanied by an increase in the caspase-3/7 activity with the resultant cleavages of procaspase-3 and its substrate poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase, and increased percentage of apoptotic propensities in annexin V binding assay. Collectively, our data represent that the efficacy of resveratrol and clofarabine for apoptosis induction was substantially enhanced by Bcl-xL-lowering strategy in which the simultaneous targeting of Mcl-1 and Bcl-xL could be a more effective strategy for treating malignant mesothelioma.

Elkady AI, Hussein RA, Abu-Zinadah OA
Differential control of growth, apoptotic activity and gene expression in human colon cancer cells by extracts derived from medicinal herbs, Rhazya stricta and Zingiber officinale and their combination.
World J Gastroenterol. 2014; 20(41):15275-88 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
AIM: To investigate the effects of extracts from Rhazya stricta (R. stricta) and Zingiber officinale (Z. officinale) on human colorectal cancer cells.
METHODS: Human colorectal cancer cells (HCT116) were subjected to increasing doses of crude alkaloid extracts from R. stricta (CAERS) and crude flavonoid extracts from Z. officinale (CFEZO). Cells were then harvested after 24, 48 or 72 h and cell viability was examined by trypan blue exclusion dye test; clonogenicity and soft agar colony-forming assays were also carried out. Nuclear stain (Hoechst 33342), acridine orange/ethidium bromide double staining, agarose gel electrophoresis and comet assays were performed to assess pro-apoptotic potentiality of the extracts. Quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), using gene-specific primers and Western blot analyses were performed to assess the impact of CAERS and CFEZO on the expression levels of key regulatory proteins in HCT116 cells.
RESULTS: Treatment with a combination of CAERS and CFEZO synergistically suppressed the proliferation, colony formation and anchorage-independent growth of HCT116 cells. Calculated IC50, after 24, 48 and 72 h, were 70, 90 and 130 μg/mL for CAERS, 65, 85 and 120 μg/mL for CFEZO and 20, 25 and 45 μg/mL for both agents, respectively. CAERS- and CFEZO-treated cells exhibited morphologic and biochemical features of apoptotic cell death. The induction of apoptosis was associated with the release of mitochondrial cytochrome c, an increase in the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio, activation of caspases 3 and 9 and cleavage of poly ADP-ribose polymerase. CAERS and CFEZO treatments downregulated expression levels of anti-apoptotic proteins including Bcl-2, Bcl-X, Mcl-1, survivin and XIAP, and upregulated expression levels of proapoptotic proteins such as Bad and Noxa. CAERS and CFEZO treatments elevated expression levels of the oncosuppressor proteins, p53, p21 and p27, and reduced levels of the oncoproteins, cyclin D1, cyclin/cyclin-dependent kinase-4 and c-Myc.
CONCLUSION: These data suggest that a combination of CAERS and CFEZO is a promising treatment for the prevention of colon cancer.

Woo SM, Min KJ, Seo BR, et al.
Cafestol overcomes ABT-737 resistance in Mcl-1-overexpressed renal carcinoma Caki cells through downregulation of Mcl-1 expression and upregulation of Bim expression.
Cell Death Dis. 2014; 5:e1514 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
Although ABT-737, a small-molecule Bcl-2/Bcl-xL inhibitor, has recently emerged as a novel cancer therapeutic agent, ABT-737-induced apoptosis is often blocked in several types of cancer cells with elevated expression of Mcl-1. Cafestol, one of the major compounds in coffee beans, has been reported to have anti-carcinogenic activity and tumor cell growth-inhibitory activity, and we examined whether cafestol could overcome resistance against ABT-737 in Mcl-1-overexpressed human renal carcinoma Caki cells. ABT-737 alone had no effect on apoptosis, but cafestol markedly enhanced ABT-737-mediated apoptosis in Mcl-1-overexpressed Caki cells, human glioma U251MG cells, and human breast carcinoma MDA-MB231 cells. By contrast, co-treatment with ABT-737 and cafestol did not induce apoptosis in normal human skin fibroblast. Furthermore, combined treatment with cafestol and ABT-737 markedly reduced tumor growth compared with either drug alone in xenograft models. We found that cafestol inhibited Mcl-1 protein expression, which is important for ABT-737 resistance, through promotion of protein degradation. Moreover, cafestol increased Bim expression, and siRNA-mediated suppression of Bim expression reduced the apoptosis induced by cafestol plus ABT-737. Taken together, cafestol may be effectively used to enhance ABT-737 sensitivity in cancer therapy via downregulation of Mcl-1 expression and upregulation of Bim expression.


RBM4-regulated alternative splicing suppresses tumorigenesis.
Cancer Discov. 2014; 4(11):1253 [PubMed] Related Publications
RBM4 inhibits cancer cell growth and migration by regulating cancer-associated gene splicing.

Kim BG, Kwon HY, Sohn EJ, et al.
Activation of caspases and inhibition of ribosome biogenesis mediate antitumor activity of Chijongdan in A549 non-small lung cancer cells.
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014; 14:420 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Though herbal medicines have been used for cancer prevention and treatment, their scientific evidences still remain unclear so far. Thus, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) project has been actively executed to reveal the scientific evidences in the USA and other countries. In the present study, we elucidated antitumor mechanism of Chijongdan, an oriental prescription of Rhus verniciflua, processed Panax ginseng, Persicaria tinctoria and Realgar, that has been traditionally applied for cancer treatment in Korea.
METHODS: Chijongdan was prepared with extracts of Rhus verniciflua, processed Panax ginseng, Persicaria tinctoria and processed Realgar. The cytotoxicity of Chijongdan was measured by MTT colorimetric assay. Cell cycle analysis was performed by FACS. Western blot was performed to see the apoptosis related proteins.
RESULTS: Chijongdan significantly exerted cytotoxicity in A549, H460 and H1299 non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) cells by MTT assay and also increased the number of ethidium homodimer positively stained cells in A549 NSCLC cells. Also, cell cycle analysis showed that Chijongdan increased sub-G1 population in a concentration dependent manner in A549 cells. In addition, Western blotting revealed that Chijongdan activated cleaved PARP, and caspase 9/3, while attenuated the expression of survival genes such as Bcl-2, Bcl-XL and survivin in A549 cells. Furthermore, Chijongdan suppressed the expression of ribosomal biogenesis related proteins such as upstream binding factor (UBF), Fibrillarin, NPM (B23) and Importin-7 (IPO7) and conversely pan-caspase inhibitor Z--VAD-FMK reversed the apoptotic ability of Chijongdan to cleave PARP and caspase 3 and attenuate the expression of UBF and Fibrillarin in A549 cells.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that Chijongdan induces apoptosis and inhibits ribosomal biogenesis proteins via caspase activation.

Yu X, Yang L, Cairns MJ, et al.
Chemosensitization of solid tumors by inhibition of Bcl-xL expression using DNAzyme.
Oncotarget. 2014; 5(19):9039-48 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
DNAzymes are a novel class of gene suppressors that selectively bind to an RNA substrate by Watson-Crick base pairing and cleave phosphodiester bonds. To explore the potential for therapeutic use of catalytic DNA molecules, active DNAzymes targeting the bcl-xL gene were generated through a multiplex in vitro selection. The DNAzyme-mediated down-regulation of the bcl-xL expression was demonstrated in various cancer cell lines by Western blots. Treatment of the cells with the active DNAzyme led to increases in percentage of apoptotic cells and cytochrome c release from mitochondria, a hall marker of apoptosis. When combined with chemotherapeutics such as Taxol, the DNAzyme significantly sensitised a panel of cancer cells to apoptosis as measured by cell survival assay. In Taxol-resistant cells, down-regulation of bcl-xL expression by the DNAzyme reversed the chemo-resistant phenotype of the cancer cells. In a xenograft mouse model, the DNAzyme was delivered into the tumors via an ALZET osmotic pump and shown to chemosensitize PC3 tumor when treating with Taxol. The results from the present study demonstrate that bcl-xL DNAzyme treatment facilitates apoptosis in solid tumors and suggest the potential use of bcl-xL DNAzyme in combination with chemotherapeutics for cancer therapy.

Lu Z, Wang J, Zheng T, et al.
FTY720 inhibits proliferation and epithelial-mesenchymal transition in cholangiocarcinoma by inactivating STAT3 signaling.
BMC Cancer. 2014; 14:783 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Interleukin 6 (IL-6)-mediated signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 (STAT-3) phosphorylation (activation) is aberrantly sustained in cholangiocarcinoma cells resulting in enhanced myeloid cell leukemia 1 (Mcl-1) expression and resistance to apoptosis. FTY720, a new immunosuppressant, derived from ISP-1, has been studied for its putative anti-cancer properties. This study aimed to elucidate the mechanism by which FTY720 mediates antitumor effects in cholangiocarcinoma (CC) cells.
METHODS: Three CC cell lines were examined, QBC939, TFK-1, and HuCCT1. The therapeutic effects of FTY720 were evaluated in vitro and in vivo. Cell proliferation, apoptosis, cell cycle, invasive potential, and epithelial- mesenchy-mal transition (EMT) were examined.
RESULTS: FTY720 greatly inhibited CC cells proliferation and EMT in vitro and in vivo, and this effect was associated with dephosphorylation of STAT3tyr705. FTY720 induced apoptosis and G1 phase arrest in CC cells, and inhibited invasion of CC cells. Western blot analysis showed that FTY720 induced cleavage of caspases 3, 8 and 9, and of PARP, in a dose-dependent manner, consistent with a substantial decrease in p-STAT3, Bcl-xL, Bcl-2, survivin, cyclin D1, cyclin E, N-cadherin, vimentin, VEGF and TWIST1. In vivo studies showed that tumor growth and metastasis were significantly suppressed after FTY720 treatment.
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that FTY720 induces a significant decrease in p-STAT3, which inhibits proliferation and EMT of CC cells, and then induces G1 phase arrest and apoptosis. We have characterized a novel immunosuppressant, which shows potential anti-tumor effects on CC via p-STAT3 inhibition. FTY720 merits further investigation and warrants clinical evaluation.

Liu BX, Zhou JY, Li Y, et al.
Hederagenin from the leaves of ivy (Hedera helix L.) induces apoptosis in human LoVo colon cells through the mitochondrial pathway.
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014; 14:412 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Colorectal cancer has become one of the leading cause of cancer morbidity and mortality throughout world. Hederagenin, a derivative of oleanolic acid isolated from the leaves of ivy (Hedera helix L.), has been shown to have potential anti-tumor activity. The study was conducted to evaluate whether hederagenin could induce apoptosis of human colon cancer LoVo cells and explore the possible mechanism.
METHODS: MTT assay was used for evaluating cell viability while Annexin V-FITC/PI assay and Hoechst 33342 nuclear stainining were used for the determination of apoptosis and mitochondrial membrane potential. DCFH-DA fluorescence staining and flow cytometry were used to measure ROS generation. Real-time PCR and western blot analysis were performed for apoptosis-related protein expressions.
RESULTS: MTT assay showed that hederagenin could significantly inhibit the viability of LoVo cells in a concentration-dependent and time-dependent manner by IC50 of 1.39 μM at 24 h and 1.17 μM at 48 h. The apoptosis ratio was significantly increased to 32.46% and 81.78% by the induction of hederagenin (1 and 2 μM) in Annexin V-FITC/PI assay. Hederagenin could also induce the nuclear changes characteristic of apoptosis by Hoechst 33342 nuclear stainining under fluorescence microscopy. DCFH-DA fluorescence staining and flow cytometry showed that hederagenin could increase significantly ROS generation in LoVo cells. Real-time PCR showed that hederagenin induced the up-regulation of Bax and down-regulation of Bcl-2, Bcl-xL and Survivin. Western blotting analysis showed that hederagenin decreased the expressions of apoptosis-associated proteins Bcl-2, procaspase-9, procaspase-3, and polyADP- ribosepolymerase (PARP) were increased, while the expressions of Bax, caspase-3, caspase-9 were increased. However, there was no significant change on caspase-8.
CONCLUSIONS: These results indicated that the disruption of mitochondrial membrane potential might contribute to the apoptosis of hederagenin in LoVo cells. Our findings suggested that hederagenin might be a promising therapeutic candidate for human colon cancer.

Hsiao YP, Tsai CH, Wu PP, et al.
Cantharidin induces G2/M phase arrest by inhibition of Cdc25c and Cyclin A and triggers apoptosis through reactive oxygen species and the mitochondria‑dependent pathways of A375.S2 human melanoma cells.
Int J Oncol. 2014; 45(6):2393-402 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cantharidin (CTD), a component of natural mylabris (Mylabris phalerata Pallas) was reported to have high cytotoxicity in many human cancer cell lines. However, it was not reported to affect human melanoma A375.S2 cells. In the present study, we found that CTD induced cell morphological changes and decreased the percentage of viable cells and induced G2/M phase arrest and induction of apoptosis in A375.S2 cells. Results also showed that CTD induced the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and Ca2+ and decreased mitochondria membrane potential and lead to the release of cytochrome c, AIF and Endo G. Further investigation revealed that CTD induced A375.S2 cells with an increase of caspase activation and caspase-dependent apoptotic proteins to trigger correlated pathway mechanisms according to western blotting results. Western blotting was used for examining the changes of G2/M phase arrest and apoptosis-associated protein expression and confocal laser microscopy was used to examine the translocation apoptosis-associated protein. Results showed that CTD increased the protein expression of caspase-3, -8 and -9, cytochrome c, Bax, Bid, Endo G and AIF but inhibited the levels of Bcl-2 and Bcl-x. CTD induced ER stress-associated protein expression such as GRP78, IRE1β, ATF6α and caspase-12. Based on those observations, we suggest that CTD may have potential as a novel anti-cancer agent for the treatment of skin cancer.

Lam SK, Li YY, Zheng CY, Ho JC
Downregulation of thymidylate synthase and E2F1 by arsenic trioxide in mesothelioma.
Int J Oncol. 2015; 46(1):113-22 [PubMed] Related Publications
Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a global health issue. Arsenic trioxide (ATO) has been shown to suppress thymidylate synthase (TYMS) in lung adenocarcinoma and colorectal cancer, and induce apoptosis in acute promyelocytic leukemia. With TYMS as a putative therapeutic target, the effect of ATO in mesothelioma was therefore studied. A panel of 5 mesothelioma cell lines was used to study the effect of ATO on cell viability, protein expression, mRNA expression and TYMS activity by MTT assay, western blot, qPCR and tritium-release assay, respectively. The knockdown of TYMS and E2F1 was performed with a specific siRNA. Phosphatidylserine externalization and mitochondrial membrane depolarization were measured by Annexin V and JC-1 staining respectively. The in vivo effect of ATO was studied using a nude mouse xenograft model. Application of ATO demonstrated anticancer effects in the cell line model with clinically achievable concentrations. Downregulation of TYMS protein (except H226 cells and 1.25 µM ATO in H2052 cells) and mRNA expression (H28 cells), pRB1 (H28 cells) and E2F1 and TYMS activity (except H226 cells) were also evident. E2F1 knockdown decreased cell viability more significantly than TYMS knockdown. In general, thymidine kinase 1, ribonucleotide reductase M1, c-myc and skp2 were downregulated by ATO. p-c-Jun was downregulated in H28 cells while upregulated in 211H cells. Phosphatidylserine externalization, mitochondrial membrane depolarization, downregulation of Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL, and upregulation of Bak and cleaved caspase-3 were observed. In the H226 xenograft model, the relative tumor growth was aborted, and E2F1 was downregulated while cleaved caspase-3 was elevated and localized to the nucleus in the ATO treatment group. ATO has potent antiproliferative and cytotoxic effects in mesothelioma in vitro and in vivo, partially mediated through E2F1 targeting (less effect through TYMS targeting). There is sound scientific evidence to support the clinical application of ATO in treatment of mesothelioma.

Ma J, Guo R, Wang T, et al.
Let-7b binding site polymorphism in the B-cell lymphoma-extra large 3'UTR is associated with fluorouracil resistance of hepatocellular carcinoma.
Mol Med Rep. 2015; 11(1):677-81 [PubMed] Related Publications
B-cell lymphoma-extra large (Bcl-xl) is an anti-apoptotic member of the B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) family that is often found to be overexpressed in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), therefore conferring a survival advantage to tumor cells. microRNA (miRNA) let-7b is downregulated in HCC and its expression correlates with multidrug resistance. Using computational programs, it was predicted that the 3' untranslated region (UTR) of the Bcl-xl gene contains a potential miRNA binding site for let-7b, and that a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) site rs3208684 (A or C allele) resides within this binding site. Luciferase assays and western blot analysis demonstrated that let‑7b targeted Bcl-xl gene expression and negatively regulated the amount of Bcl-xl protein. SNP rs3208684 (A>C) variation enhanced the expression of Bcl-xl by disrupting the binding of let-7b to the 3'UTR of Bcl-xl. The effects of the two polymorphic variants on chemotherapeutic drug sensitivity were determined by cell counting kit 8 assays. Overexpression of the Bcl-xl mutated (C) allele in BEL-7402 HCC cells significantly decreased fluorouracil (5-FU) sensitivity, as compared with mock transfection and overexpression of the wild-type allele. From this, it was concluded that let-7b increased 5-FU sensitivity by repressing Bcl-xl expression in HCC cells. These results suggest that SNP (rs3208684) may be a potential marker for personalized treatment.

Wang G, Chen S, Edwards H, et al.
Combination of chloroquine and GX15-070 (obatoclax) results in synergistic cytotoxicity against pancreatic cancer cells.
Oncol Rep. 2014; 32(6):2789-94 [PubMed] Related Publications
Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive disease with a poor prognosis. Therefore, new treatment is urgently required. GX15-070 is a pan-Bcl-2 inhibitor which has shown promising antitumor activity in different malignancies. We previously demonstrated that clinically achievable concentrations of GX15-070 caused growth arrest in pancreatic cancer cell lines. However, they only induced minimal levels of apoptosis. We hypothesized that GX15-070 induced autophagy in pancreatic cancer cells which blocked apoptosis. In this study, we investigated the effects of GX15-070 on autophagy and the antitumor activities of the combination of GX15-070 and chloroquine (CQ), an autophagy inhibitor, in six pancreatic cancer cell lines. We found that GX15-070 treatment indeed induced autophagy in 5 of the 6 pancreatic cancer cell lines, reflected by the conversion of LC3B-I to LC3B-II and detection of autophagosomes by transmission electron microscopy. Furthermore, we found additive to synergistic antitumor interactions in all six cell lines by MTT assays. CQ significantly enhanced GX15-070-induced apoptosis in the cell line models, possibly due to downregulation of Bcl-2, Bcl-xL and Mcl-1 in the cells by the two agents. These results provide compelling evidence for the further development of the combination of GX15-070 and CQ in pancreatic cancer.

Lu T, Laughton CA, Wang S, Bradshaw TD
In vitro antitumor mechanism of (E)-N-(2-methoxy-5-(((2,4,6-trimethoxystyryl)sulfonyl)methyl)pyridin-3-yl)methanesulfonamide.
Mol Pharmacol. 2015; 87(1):18-30 [PubMed] Related Publications
ON01910.Na [sodium (E)-2-(2-methoxy-5-((2,4,6-trimethoxystyrylsulfonyl)methyl)phenylamino)acetate; Rigosertib, Estybon], a styryl benzylsulfone, is a phase III stage anticancer agent. This non-ATP competitive kinase inhibitor has multitargeted activity, promoting mitotic arrest and apoptosis. Extensive phase I/II studies with ON01910.Na, conducted in patients with solid tumors and hematologic cancers, demonstrate excellent efficacy. However, issues remain affecting its development. These include incomplete understanding of antitumor mechanisms, low oral bioavailability, and unpredictable pharmacokinetics. We have identified a novel (E)-styrylsulfonyl methylpyridine [(E)-N-(2-methoxy-5-((2,4,6-trimethoxystyrylsulfonyl)methyl)pyridin-3-yl)methanesulfonamide (TL-77)] which has shown improved oral bioavailability compared with ON01910.Na. Here, we present detailed cellular mechanisms of TL-77 in comparison with ON01910.Na. TL-77 displays potent growth inhibitory activity in vitro (GI50 < 1μM against HCT-116 cells), demonstrating 3- to 10-fold greater potency against tumor cell lines when compared with normal cells. Cell-cycle analyses reveal that TL-77 causes significant G2/M arrest in cancer cells, followed by the onset of apoptosis. In cell-free conditions, TL-77 potently inhibits tubulin polymerization. Mitotically arrested cells display multipolar spindles and misalignment of chromosomes, indicating that TL-77 interferes with mitotic spindle assembly in cancer cells. These effects are accompanied by induction of DNA damage, inhibition of Cdc25C phosphorylation [indicative of Plk1 inhibition], and downstream inhibition of cyclin B1. However, kinase assays failed to confirm inhibition of Plk1. Nonsignificant effects on phosphoinositide 3-kinase/Akt signal transduction were observed after TL-77 treatment. Analysis of apoptotic signaling pathways reveals that TL-77 downregulates expression of B-cell lymphoma 2 family proteins (Bid, Bcl-xl, and Mcl-1) and stimulates caspase activation. Taken together, TL-77 represents a promising anticancer agent worthy of further evaluation.

Sun Q, Yogosawa S, Iizumi Y, et al.
The alkaloid emetine sensitizes ovarian carcinoma cells to cisplatin through downregulation of bcl-xL.
Int J Oncol. 2015; 46(1):389-94 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cisplatin and its platinum derivatives are first-line chemotherapeutic agents in the treatment of ovarian cancer. However, chemoresistance is the leading cause of therapeutic failure and is responsible for the poor overall survival rate. Here, we describe that emetine, a natural alkaloid used as an anti-amoebiasis drug, sensitized ovarian carcinoma cells to apoptosis induced by cisplatin. The single administration of cisplatin or emetine had a weak effect on cell death. However, co-treatment of cisplatin and emetine remarkably induced apoptosis and reduced the colony formation of ovarian carcinoma cells. Moreover, we showed that apoptosis induced by the combination of cisplatin and emetine was dependent on the activation of caspases -3, -7 and -8. As to the mechanism, downregulation of bcl-xL by emetine was shown to be responsible for enhancing the sensitivity of ovarian cancer cells to cisplatin. These findings suggest that the combination of cisplatin and emetine might be a promising treatment for ovarian cancer.

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