alpha-TEA inhibits survival and enhances death pathways in cisplatin sensitive and resistant human ovarian cancer cells

Weiping Yu, Ming-chieh Shun, Kristen Anderson, Hansong Chen, Bob G Sanders, Kimberly Kline
Apoptosis: An International Journal on Programmed Cell Death 2006, 11 (10): 1813-23
RRR-alpha-tocopherol ether linked acetic acid analog (alpha-TEA), is a potential chemotherapeutic agent for ovarian cancer. Pro-death and pro-life signaling pathways were studied to understand the anti-cancer actions of alpha-TEA on cisplatin-sensitive (A2780S) and -resistant (A2780/cp70R) human ovarian cancer cells. Both cell lines were refractory to Fas; whereas, alpha-TEA sensitized them to Fas signaling. alpha-TEA increased levels of Fas message, protein and membrane-associated Fas. Neutralizing antibodies to Fas or Fas L partially blocked alpha-TEA-induced apoptosis. alpha-TEA induced prolonged activation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and its substrate c-Jun; Bax conformational change; and cleavage of Bid and caspases-8, -9 and -3. Chemical inhibitors of JNK, and caspases blocked alpha-TEA-induced apoptosis. alpha-TEA decreased phosphorylation of protein kinase B (Akt/PKB) and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK1/2), as well as cellular FLICE-like inhibitory protein (c-FLIP) and Survivin protein levels. Knockdown of Akt and ERK activity using phosphoinositide- 3-kinase (PI3K) and mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MKK1) inhibitors enhanced alpha-TEA-induced apoptosis. Over-expression of constitutively active Akt2 and MKK1 blocked alpha-TEA-induced apoptosis. Collectively, data show alpha-TEA to be a potent apoptotic inducer of both cisplatin-sensitive and -resistant human ovarian cancer cells via activating death receptor Fas signaling and suppressing anti-apoptotic AKT and ERK targets.

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