JOURNAL ARTICLE

Platinum compounds sensitize ovarian carcinoma cells to ABT-737 by modulation of the Mcl-1/Noxa axis

Karin Simonin, Monique N'Diaye, Stéphanie Lheureux, Claire Loussouarn, Soizic Dutoit, Mélanie Briand, Florence Giffard, Emilie Brotin, Cécile Blanc-Fournier, Laurent Poulain
Apoptosis: An International Journal on Programmed Cell Death 2013, 18 (4): 492-508
23344663
Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecological cancer. The anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-x(L) is frequently overexpressed in ovarian carcinoma which correlates with chemotherapy resistance. It has been demonstrated that Bcl-x(L) cooperates with another anti-apoptotic protein, Mcl-1, to protect ovarian cancer cells against apoptosis, and that their concomitant inhibition induces massive cell death. Here, we examined the interest of ABT-737, a potent BH3-mimetic molecule targeting Bcl-x(L), both alone and in combination with Mcl-1 modulators, in ovarian cancer cell lines. As a single agent, ABT-737 was ineffective at promoting cell death in the four cell lines we tested in vitro. However, the specific inhibition of Mcl-1 by siRNA dramatically increased the sensitivity of chemoresistant cells to ABT-737. Platinum compounds also sensitize to ABT-737 by dose-dependently decreasing Mcl-1 expression or by increasing the expression of pro-apoptotic BH3-only proteins Noxa and, to a lower extent, Bim. Furthermore, we demonstrated that Noxa accumulation was involved in apoptosis occurring in response to the combination of ABT-737 and platinum compounds, since cells were protected from apoptosis by its silencing. Moreover, the combination was also highly cytotoxic ex vivo in sliced SKOV3 tumor nodes. However we observed in these slices a strong basal expression of Noxa and apoptotic cell death in response to ABT-737 alone. Therefore, we have revealed that the modulation of the Mcl-1/Noxa axis by platinum compounds results in a strong sensitization of chemoresistant ovarian carcinoma cells to ABT-737, which could constitute a promising therapeutic in these cancers.

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