JOURNAL ARTICLE

Salirasib sensitizes hepatocarcinoma cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis through DR5 and survivin-dependent mechanisms

N Charette, C De Saeger, Y Horsmans, I Leclercq, P Stärkel
Cell Death & Disease 2013, 4: e471
23348585
Ras activation is a frequent event in human hepatocarcinoma that may contribute to resistance towards apoptosis. Salirasib is a ras and mTOR inhibitor that induces a pro-apoptotic phenotype in human hepatocarcinoma cell lines. In this work, we evaluate whether salirasib sensitizes those cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis. Cell viability, cell death and apoptosis were evaluated in vitro in HepG2, Hep3B and Huh7 cells treated with DMSO, salirasib and YM155 (a survivin inhibitor), alone or in combination with recombinant TRAIL. Our results show that pretreatment with salirasib sensitized human hepatocarcinoma cell lines, but not normal human hepatocytes, to TRAIL-induced apoptosis. Indeed, FACS analysis showed that 25 (Huh7) to 50 (HepG2 and Hep3B) percent of the cells treated with both drugs were apoptotic. This occurred through activation of the extrinsic and the intrinsic pathways, as evidenced by a marked increase in caspase 3/7 (five to ninefold), caspase 8 (four to sevenfold) and caspase 9 (eight to 12-fold) activities in cells treated with salirasib and TRAIL compared with control. Survivin inhibition had an important role in this process and was sufficient to sensitize hepatocarcinoma cells to apoptosis. Furthermore, TRAIL-induced apoptosis in HCC cells pretreated with salirasib was dependent on activation of death receptor (DR) 5. In conclusion, salirasib sensitizes hepatocarcinoma cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis by a mechanism involving the DR5 receptor and survivin inhibition. These results in human hepatocarcinoma cell lines and primary hepatocytes provide a rationale for testing the combination of salirasib and TRAIL agonists in human hepatocarcinoma.

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