The p21-Dependent Radiosensitization of Human Breast Cancer Cells by MLN4924, an Investigational Inhibitor of NEDD8 Activating Enzyme

Division of Radiation and Cancer Biology, Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States of America.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.53). 03/2012; 7(3):e34079. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0034079
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Radiotherapy is a treatment choice for local control of breast cancer. However, intrinsic radioresistance of cancer cells limits therapeutic efficacy. We have recently validated that SCF (SKP1, Cullins, and F-box protein) E3 ubiquitin ligase is an attractive radiosensitizing target. Here we tested our hypothesis that MLN4924, a newly discovered investigational small molecule inhibitor of NAE (NEDD8 Activating Enzyme) that inactivates SCF E3 ligase, could act as a novel radiosensitizing agent in breast cancer cells. Indeed, we found that MLN4924 effectively inhibited cullin neddylation, and sensitized breast cancer cells to radiation with a sensitivity enhancement ratio (SER) of 1.75 for SK-BR-3 cells and 1.32 for MCF7 cells, respectively. Mechanistically, MLN4924 significantly enhanced radiation-induced G2/M arrest in SK-BR-3 cells, but not in MCF7 cells at early time point, and enhanced radiation-induced apoptosis in both lines at later time point. However, blockage of apoptosis by Z-VAD failed to abrogate MLN4924 radiosensitization, suggesting that apoptosis was not causally related. We further showed that MLN4924 failed to enhance radiation-induced DNA damage response, but did cause minor delay in DNA damage repair. Among a number of tested SCF E3 substrates known to regulate growth arrest, apoptosis and DNA damage response, p21 was the only one showing an enhanced accumulation in MLN4924-radiation combination group, as compared to the single treatment groups. Importantly, p21 knockdown via siRNA partialy inhibited MLN4924-induced G2/M arrest and radiosensitization, indicating a causal role played by p21. Our study suggested that MLN4924 could be further developed as a novel class of radiosensitizer for the treatment of breast cancer.

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