Tectorigenin sensitizes paclitaxel-resistant human ovarian cancer cells through downregulation of the Akt and NFκB pathway

Yeong-In Yang, Kyung-Tae Lee, Hee-Juhn Park, Tae Jin Kim, Youn Seok Choi, Ie-Ming Shih, Jung-Hye Choi
Carcinogenesis 2012, 33 (12): 2488-98
Paclitaxel (Taxol) is currently used as the front-line chemotherapeutic agent for several cancers including ovarian carcinoma; however, the drug frequently induces drug resistance through multiple mechanisms. The new strategy of using natural compounds in combination therapies is highly attractive because those compounds may enhance the efficacy of chemotherapy. In this study, we found that tectorigenin, an isoflavonoid isolated from flower of Pueraria thunbergiana, enhanced the growth-inhibitory effect of paclitaxel in paclitaxel-resistant ovarian cancer cells (MPSC1(TR), A2780(TR) and SKOV3(TR)) as well as their naive counterparts. The combination of tectorigenin with paclitaxel resulted in a synergistic apoptosis compared with either agent alone through activation of caspases-3, -8 and -9. Treatment with tectorigenin inhibited the nuclear translocation of NFκB and the expression of NFκB-dependent genes such as FLIP, XIAP, Bcl-2, Bcl-xL and COX-2, which are known to be associated with chemoresistance. In addition, the tectorigenin-paclitaxel combination inhibited the phosphorylation of IκB and IKK and the activation of Akt in paclitaxel-resistant cancer cells. Moreover, tectorigenin-paclitaxel-induced cell growth inhibition was enhanced by pretreatment with the Akt inhibitor LY294002 or overexpression of the dominant negative Akt (Akt-DN), but reduced by overexpression of constitutively activated Akt (Akt-Myr). Furthermore, we found that Akt-Myr, at least in part, reversed tectorigenin-paclitaxel-induced nuclear translocation of NFκB and the phosphorylation of IκB and IKK. These data suggest that tectorigenin could sensitize paclitaxel-resistant human ovarian cancer cells through inactivation of the Akt/IKK/IκB/NFκB signaling pathway, and promise a new intervention to chemosensitize paclitaxel-induced cytotoxicity in ovarian cancer.

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