JOURNAL ARTICLE

Inhibition of Bcl-2 improves effect of LCL161, a SMAC mimetic, in hepatocellular carcinoma cells

Kuen-Feng Chen, Jing-Ping Lin, Chung-Wai Shiau, Wei-Tien Tai, Chun-Yu Liu, Hui-Chuan Yu, Pei-Jer Chen, Ann-Lii Cheng
Biochemical Pharmacology 2012 August 1, 84 (3): 268-77
22580047
In this study, we investigated the effect of LCL161, a SMAC mimetic, in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). LCL161 showed differential effects on apoptosis in four HCC cell lines, and the endogenous level of Bcl-2 determined the sensitivity of HCC cells to LCL161. Cytotoxicity and apoptosis were observed in sensitive PLC5 and Hep3B cells that express lower levels of Bcl-2, but not in resistant Huh-7 and SK-Hep1 cells with higher Bcl-2 expression. Down regulation of Bcl-2 by small interference RNA overcame the resistance to LCL161 in Huh-7, and the apoptotic effect was rescued in Bcl-2-expressing Hep3B. To test the hypothesis that Bcl-2 determines the sensitivity of HCC cells to LCL161, we assayed the biological effect of SC-2001, a novel Bcl-2 inhibitor derived from obatoclax, in LCL161-resistant cell lines. Huh-7 cells co-treated with LCL161 and SC-2001 showed a significant dose-dependent apoptotic effect demonstrated by sub-G1 assay and cleavage of PARP. Furthermore, the combination index (CI) of LCL161 and SC-2001 showed a convincing synergism in resistant Huh-7. In addition, the combinational therapy showed significant growth inhibition in Huh-7-bearing xenograft tumors. Notably, down regulation of Bcl-2 was observed in a tumor sample treated with LCL161 and SC-2001. In conclusion, targeting Bcl-2 with SC-2001 overcomes drug resistance to LCL161 in HCC cells thus suggesting a new anti-IAP combinational therapy for HCC.

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