Targeting FAK radiosensitizes 3-dimensional grown human HNSCC cells through reduced Akt1 and MEK1/2 signaling.
ABSTRACT Focal adhesion kinase (FAK), a main regulator of integrin signaling and cell migration, is frequently overexpressed and hyperphosphorylated in human head-and-neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). We have previously shown that pharmacologic FAK inhibition leads to radiosensitization of 3-dimensionally grown HNSCC cell lines. To further evaluate the role of FAK in radioresistance and as a potential cancer target, we examined FAK and FAK downstream signaling in HNSCC cell lines grown in more physiologic extracellular matrix-based 3-dimensional cell cultures.
Seven HNSCC cell lines were grown in 3-dimensional extracellular matrix and the clonogenic radiation survival, expression, and phosphorylation of FAK, paxillin, Akt1, extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2, and MEK1/2 were analyzed after siRNA-mediated knockdown of FAK, Akt1, MEK1, FAK+Akt1, or FAK+MEK1 compared with controls or stable overexpression of FAK. The role of MEK1/2 for clonogenic survival and signaling was investigated using the MEK inhibitor U0126 with or without irradiation.
FAK knockdown moderately or significantly enhanced the cellular radiosensitivity of 3-dimensionally grown HNSCC cells. The FAK downstream targets paxillin, Akt1, and ERK1/2 were substantially dephosphorylated under FAK depletion. FAK overexpression, in contrast, increased radiation survival and paxillin, Akt1, and ERK1/2 phosphorylation. The degree of radiosensitization upon Akt1, ERK1/2, or MEK1 depletion or U0126 was superimposable to FAK knockdown. Combination knockdown conditions (ie, Akt1/FAK, MEK1/FAK, or U0126/FAK) failed to provide additional radiosensitization.
Our data provide further evidence for FAK as important determinant of radiation survival, which acts in the same signaling axis as Akt1 and ERK1/2. These data strongly support our hypothesis that FAK is a relevant molecular target for HNSCC radiotherapy.
Article: Genome-wide gene expression analysis in cancer cells reveals 3D growth to affect ECM and processes associated with cell adhesion but not DNA repair.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Cell morphology determines cell behavior, signal transduction, protein-protein interaction, and responsiveness to external stimuli. In cancer, these functions profoundly contribute to resistance mechanisms to radio- and chemotherapy. With regard to this aspect, this study compared the genome wide gene expression in exponentially growing cell lines from different tumor entities, lung carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, under more physiological three-dimensional (3D) versus monolayer cell culture conditions. Whole genome cDNA microarray analysis was accomplished using the Affymetrix HG U133 Plus 2.0 gene chip. Significance analysis of microarray (SAM) and t-test analysis revealed significant changes in gene expression profiles of 3D relative to 2D cell culture conditions. These changes affected the extracellular matrix and were mainly associated with biological processes like tissue development, cell adhesion, immune system and defense response in contrast to terms related to DNA repair, which lacked significant alterations. Selected genes were verified by semi-quantitative RT-PCR and Western blotting. Additionally, we show that 3D growth mediates a significant increase in tumor cell radio- and chemoresistance relative to 2D. Our findings show significant gene expression differences between 3D and 2D cell culture systems and indicate that cellular responsiveness to external stress such as ionizing radiation and chemotherapeutics is essentially influenced by differential expression of genes involved in the regulation of integrin signaling, cell shape and cell-cell contact.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(4):e34279. · 4.09 Impact Factor
Article: Focal adhesion-chromatin linkage controls tumor cell resistance to radio- and chemotherapy.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Cancer resistance to therapy presents an ongoing and unsolved obstacle, which has clear impact on patient's survival. In order to address this problem, novel in vitro models have been established and are currently developed that enable data generation in a more physiological context. For example, extracellular-matrix- (ECM-) based scaffolds lead to the identification of integrins and integrin-associated signaling molecules as key promoters of cancer cell resistance to radio- and chemotherapy as well as modern molecular agents. In this paper, we discuss the dynamic nature of the interplay between ECM, integrins, cytoskeleton, nuclear matrix, and chromatin organization and how this affects the response of tumor cells to various kinds of cytotoxic anticancer agents.Chemotherapy research and practice. 01/2012; 2012:319287.