Leslie Douglas

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN, United States

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Publications (12)87.23 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) preferentially induces apoptosis in malignant cells by binding to the death receptors TRAIL-R1 (DR4) and TRAIL-R2 (DR5). Several agents that therapeutically exploit this phenomenon are being developed. We investigated the anticancer activity of two novel, highly specific agonistic monoclonal antibodies to TRAIL-R1 (mapatumumab, HGS-ETR1) and TRAIL-R2 (lexatumumab, HGS-ETR2) in colon cancer cell lines. Our analyses revealed that colon cancer cells display significantly higher surface expressions of TRAIL-R2 than TRAIL-R1, and are more sensitive to lexatumumab-induced apoptosis. The proapoptotic effects of lexatumumab in TRAIL-resistant HCT8 and HT29 cells were dramatically augmented by the histone deacetylase inhibitors trichostatin A or suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid. The presence of p21, but not p53, was critical for the synergy between lexatumumab and histone deacetylase inhibitors. The absence of p21 did not interfere with the formation of the death-inducing signaling complex by lexatumumab, suggesting the involvement of other apoptotic and/or cell cycle regulators. Indeed, treatment with suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid greatly reduced the expression of the inhibitor of apoptosis protein survivin and cdc2 activity in HCT116 p21(+/+) cells but not in the HCT116 p21(-/-) cells. Inhibition of cdc2 activity with flavopiridol decreased survivin expression and sensitized the p21-deficient cells to lexatumumab-induced apoptosis. Similarly, small interfering RNA-mediated knockdown of survivin also enhanced lexatumumab-mediated cell death. Therefore, survivin expression plays a key role in lexatumumab resistance, and reducing survivin expression by inhibiting cdc2 activity is a promising strategy to enhance the anticancer activity of lexatumumab.
    Cancer Research 08/2007; 67(14):6987-94. · 8.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The synergistic interaction between proteasome inhibitors and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is a promising approach to induce cell death in tumor cells. However, the molecular and biochemical mechanisms of this synergism have been proven to be cell type specific. We therefore focused our investigation on TRAIL-resistant colon carcinoma cells in this study. DNA fragmentation, mitochondrial membrane depolarization and increased caspase-3-like enzyme activity was exclusively induced only by combined treatment with proteasome inhibitors (epoxomicin, MG132, bortezomib/PS-341) and TRAIL. The expression level of anti-apoptotic proteins (XIAP, survivin, Bcl-2, Bcl-XL), regulated by NF-kappaB transcription factor, was not effected by any of these treatments. TRAIL alone induced only partial activation of caspase-3 (p20), while the combination of TRAIL and proteasome inhibition led to the full proteolytic activation of caspase-3 (p17). Only the combination treatment induced marked membrane depolarization and the release of cytochrome c, HtrA2/Omi and Smac/DIABLO. Apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) was not released in any of these conditions. These results are consistent with a model where the full activation of caspase-3 by caspase-8 is dependent on the release of Smac/DIABLO in response to the combined treatment. This molecular mechanism, independent of the inhibition NF-kappaB activity, may provide rationale for the combination treatment of colon carcinomas with proteasome inhibitors and recombinant TRAIL or agonistic antibody of TRAIL receptors.
    Pathology & Oncology Research 02/2006; 12(3):133-42. · 1.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The effects of reactive oxygen species (ROS) on tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)-induced apoptosis in solid cancers have yet to be clearly defined. In this study, we found that the classic uncoupler of oxidative phosphorylation, carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone (CCCP), induced a reduction in DeltaPsim and generation of ROS. This uncoupling effect enhanced TRAIL-induced apoptosis in TRAIL-resistant human colon carcinoma cell lines (RKO, HT29, and HCT8). Sensitization was inhibited by benzyloxycarbonyl-valine-alanine-aspartate fluoromethylketone, indicating the requirement for caspase activation. CCCP per se did not induce apoptosis or release of proapoptotic factors from mitochondria. Generation of ROS by CCCP was responsible for TRAIL-induced Bax and caspase activation because scavenging ROS completely abrogated apical caspase-8 activation and further downstream events leading to cell death. Overexpression of Bcl-2 did not prevent the initial loss of DeltaPsim and ROS generation following CCCP treatment, but did prevent cell death following TRAIL and CCCP exposure. Uncoupling of mitochondria also facilitated TRAIL-induced release of proapoptotic factors. X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis overexpression abrogated TRAIL-induced apoptosis in the presence of CCCP and decreased initiator procaspase-8 processing, indicating that additional processing of caspase-8 required initiation of a mitochondrial amplification loop via effector caspases. Of interest, depletion of caspase-9 in RKO cells did not protect cells from TRAIL/CCCP-induced apoptosis, indicating that apoptosis occurred via a caspase-9-independent pathway. Data suggest that in the presence of mitochondrial-derived ROS, TRAIL induced mitochondrial release of Smac/DIABLO and inactivation of X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis through caspase-9-independent activation of caspase 3.
    Cancer Research 09/2005; 65(16):7436-45. · 8.65 Impact Factor
  • Clinical Cancer Research 08/2005; 11(14):5329. · 7.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Protein kinase casein kinase II (CK2) is increased in response to diverse growth stimuli, as well as being elevated in many human cancers examined. We have demonstrated that CK2 is a key survival factor that protects human colon carcinoma cells from TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)-induced apoptosis. We determined that inhibition of CK2 phosphorylation events by DRB (5,6-dichlorobenzimidazole) resulted in dramatic sensitization of tumor cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis, in the absence of effects in normal cells. Sensitization was caspase dependent, and independent of regulation via NF-kappaB. Further, inhibition of phosphorylation by CK2 did not modify the expression level of antiapoptotic proteins. Analysis of TRAIL-induced death-inducing signaling complex (DISC) formation demonstrated enhanced formation of the DISC, enhanced cleavage of caspase-8 and cleavage of Bid in the presence of DRB, thereby facilitating the release of proapoptotic factors from the mitochondria with subsequent downregulation of the expression of XIAP and c-IAP1. Further, silencing of CK2alpha in HT29 cells following transfection of CK2alpha shRNA abrogated CK2 kinase activity while simultaneously increasing TRAIL sensitivity. These findings demonstrate that CK2 plays a critical antiapoptotic role by conferring resistance to TRAIL at the level of the DISC.
    Oncogene 04/2005; 24(12):2050-8. · 8.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) induces apoptosis in a wide variety of malignant cell lines, in contrast to normal cells, but with considerable heterogeneity in response. Death receptor-mediated apoptosis may be attenuated by a variety of different mechanisms, including phosphorylation-based signaling pathways. We have demonstrated that casein kinase I can attenuate TRAIL-induced apoptosis in human cell lines derived from colon adenocarcinoma (HT29 and HCT8) and pediatric rhabdomyosarcoma (JR1). Inhibition of casein kinase I (CKI) phosphorylation events in HT29, HCT8, and JR1 cells by CKI-7 dramatically increased apoptosis after exposure to TRAIL, in the absence of apoptosis induced by TRAIL treatment alone. CKI inhibition enhanced the recruitment of Fas-associated death domain and procaspase-8 to the death-inducing signaling complex after TRAIL treatment and enhanced cleavage of procaspase-8 at the death-inducing signaling complex. In HT29 cells studied further, rapid cleavage of caspase-8, caspase-3, Bid, and the caspase substrate poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase occurred when CKI-7 and TRAIL were combined. Overexpression of Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, or mutant DN-Fas-associated death domain protected HT29 cells from TRAIL-induced apoptosis in the presence of the CKI inhibitor. In addition, TRAIL combined with CKI-7 promoted the release of cytochrome c, Smac/DIABLO, HtrA2/Omi, and AIF from the mitochondria and down-regulated the expression of XIAP and c-IAP1. Small hairpin RNAs directed against CKI revealed that the CKIalpha isoform contributed significantly to the inhibition of TRAIL-induced apoptosis. These findings suggest that CKIalpha plays an antiapoptotic role through the generation of phosphorylated sites at the level of the death-inducing signaling complex, thereby conferring resistance to caspase cleavage mediated by TRAIL.
    Cancer Research 12/2004; 64(21):8036-44. · 8.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) induces apoptosis via the death receptors DR4 and DR5 in transformed cells in vitro and exhibits potent antitumor activity in vivo with minor side effects. Protein kinase casein kinase II (CK2) is increased in response to diverse growth stimuli and is aberrantly elevated in a variety of human cancers. Rhabdomyosarcoma tumors are the most common soft-tissue sarcoma in childhood. In this investigation, we demonstrate that CK2 is a key survival factor that protects tumor cells from TRAIL-induced apoptosis. We have demonstrated that inhibition of CK2 phosphorylation events by 5,6-dichlorobenzimidazole (DRB) resulted in dramatic sensitization of tumor cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis. CK2 inhibition also induced rapid cleavage of caspase-8, -9, and -3, as well as the caspase substrate poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase after TRAIL treatment. Overexpression of Bcl-2 protected cells from TRAIL-induced apoptosis in the presence of the CK2 inhibitor. Death signaling by TRAIL in these cells was Fas-associated death domain and caspase dependent because dominant negative Fas-associated death domain or the cowpox interleukin 1beta-converting enzyme inhibitor protein cytokine response modifier A prevented apoptosis in the presence of DRB. Analysis of death-inducing signaling complex (DISC) formation demonstrated that inhibition of CK2 by DRB increased the level of recruitment of procaspase-8 to the DISC and enhanced caspase-8-mediated cleavage of Bid, thereby increasing the release of the proapoptotic factors cytochrome c, HtrA2/Omi, Smac/DIABLO, and apoptosis inducing factor (AIF) from the mitochondria, with subsequent degradation of X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP). To further interfere with CK2 function, JR1 and Rh30 cells were transfected with either short hairpin RNA targeted to CK2alpha or kinase-inactive CK2alpha (K68M) or CK2alpha' (K69M). Data show that the CK2 kinase activity was abrogated and that TRAIL sensitivity in both cell lines was increased. Silencing of CK2alpha expression with short hairpin RNA was also associated with degradation of XIAP. These findings suggest that CK2 regulates TRAIL signaling in rhabdomyosarcoma by modulating TRAIL-induced DISC formation and XIAP expression.
    Clinical Cancer Research 11/2004; 10(19):6650-60. · 7.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The study objectives were to define subcutaneous (s.c.) interferon gamma (IFN-gamma) disposition in patients with gastrointestinal malignancies receiving 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and leucovorin (LV) and to examine the relationship between IFN-gamma exposures and Fas upregulation in vivo and in vitro. Patients received IFN-gamma (10, 25, 50, 75, and 100 microg/m(2)) with LV and 5-FU, and serial samples were collected after the first dose. IFN-gamma concentrations were measured by ELISA. A linear one-compartment model with a lag was fitted to the IFN-gamma plasma concentration-time data. To examine the relationship between IFN-gamma systemic exposure and biological activity in vivo, cell surface Fas upregulation was assessed in peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) subcompartments. The median (range) apparent IFN-gamma clearance was 46 l/m(2) per hour (2.6-92 l/m(2) per hour). With increasing IFN-gamma dosages, the area under the concentration-time curve (AUC(0--> infinity )) and C(max) increased; however, significant interpatient variability was observed. IFN-gamma AUC(0--> infinity ) and time above 33.3 pg/ml significantly correlated with Fas upregulation in several PBMC compartments, but dosage was significantly correlated with this pharmacodynamic marker only in CD4(+) and CD56(+) cells. In vitro studies in HT29 cells demonstrated that clinically relevant IFN-gamma concentrations (1 to 10 U/ml for 6.5 h) with 5-FU/LV upregulated Fas expression 3.5-fold, similar to that in PBMC in vivo. We characterized IFN-gamma disposition and developed a limited sampling model for use in future pharmacokinetic studies. Our results showed that IFN-gamma upregulates Fas in PBMC in vivo and in HT29 cells in vitro at tolerable, clinically relevant exposures and that monitoring IFN-gamma pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics may be warranted in IFN-gamma clinical use.
    Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology 04/2004; 53(3):253-60. · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Signaling pathways involved in survival responses may attenuate the apoptotic response to the cytotoxic tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) in human colon carcinomas. In six lines examined, three were sensitive (GC(3)/c1, VRC(5)/c1, HCT116), HT29 demonstrated intermediate sensitivity, and RKO and HCT8 were resistant to TRAIL-induced apoptosis. Calphostin c [an inhibitor of classic and novel isoforms of protein kinase C (PKC)] sensitized five of six cell lines to TRAIL, whereas Go6976, (inhibitor of classic PKC isoforms), did not influence TRAIL sensitivity. Rottlerin, an inhibitor of novel isoforms of PKC, specifically PKC delta, sensitized five of six cell lines to TRAIL-induced apoptosis, suggesting that PKC delta may be involved in the mechanism of TRAIL resistance. Transfection of HCT116 with a proapoptotic cleaved fragment of PKC delta or an antiapoptotic full-length PKC delta did not influence the sensitivity of HCT116 to TRAIL. Furthermore, the incubation of HCT116 or RKO with phorbol myristate acetate for 16 h, which down-regulated the expression of novel PKC isoforms, also did not influence sensitivity to TRAIL either in the absence or presence of rottlerin. However, after 15-min incubation with rottlerin, mitochondrial membrane potential (Delta psi m) was dramatically reduced in RKO cells, and, in cells subsequently treated with TRAIL, rapid apoptosis was evident within 8 h. Calphostin c, but not Go6976, also caused a decrease in Delta psi m. In RKO, rottlerin induced the release of cytochrome c, HtrA2/Omi, Smac/DIABLO, and AIF from the mitochondria, potentiated in combination with TRAIL, with concomitant caspase activation and down-regulation of XIAP. In HT29, the release of proapoptotic factors was demonstrated only when rottlerin and TRAIL were combined, and Bcl-2 overexpression inhibited this release and the induction of apoptosis. TRAIL-induced apoptosis was not influenced by rottlerin or Bcl-2 overexpression in type I (GC(3)/c1) cells. Data suggest that rottlerin affects mitochondrial function independent of PKC delta, thereby sensitizing cells to TRAIL, and that mitochondria constitute an important target in overcoming inherent resistance to TRAIL in colon carcinomas.
    Cancer Research 09/2003; 63(16):5118-25. · 8.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tumor necrosis factor related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL) belongs to the Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) family of death-inducing ligands, and signaling downstream of TRAIL ligation to its receptor(s) remains to be fully elucidated. Components of the death-inducing signaling complex (DISC) and TRAIL signaling downstream of receptor activation were examined in TRAIL - sensitive and -resistant models of human rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS). TRAIL ligation induced DISC formation in TRAIL-sensitive (RD, Rh18, Rh30) and TRAIL-resistant RMS (Rh28, Rh36, Rh41), with recruitment of FADD and procaspase-8. In RD cells, overexpression of dominant-negative FADD (DNFADD) completely abolished TRAIL-induced cell death in contrast to dominant-negative caspase- 8 (DNC8), which only partially inhibited TRAIL-induced apoptosis, growth inhibition, or loss in clonogenic survival. DNC8 did not inhibit the cleavage of Bid or the activation of Bax. Overexpression of Bcl-2 or Bcl-xL inhibited TRAIL-induced apoptosis, growth inhibition, and loss in clonogenic survival. Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL, but not DNC8, inhibited TRAIL-induced Bax activation. Bcl-xL did not inhibit the early activation of caspase-8 (<4 h) but inhibited cleavage of Bid, suggesting that Bid is cleaved downstream of the mitochondria, independent of caspase-8. Exogenous addition of sphingosine also induced activation of Bax via a caspase-8-and Bid-independent mechanism. Further, inhibition of sphingosine kinase completely protected cells from TRAIL-induced apoptosis. Data demonstrate that in RMS cells, the TRAIL signaling pathway circumvents caspase-8 activation of Bid upstream of the mitochondria and that TRAIL acts at the level of the mitochondria via a mechanism that may involve components of the sphingomyelin cycle.
    Cell Death and Differentiation 06/2003; 10(6):729-39. · 8.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Potentiation of 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin (FUra/LV) cytotoxicity by IFN-gamma in colon carcinoma cells is dependent on FUra-induced DNA damage, the Fas death receptor, and independent of p53 and RNA-mediated FUra toxicity, which occurs in normal gastrointestinal tissues. This provides a rationale for enhancing the selective action of FUra/LV by IFN-gamma in the treatment of colorectal carcinoma. Based on results from our preclinical studies we designed a Phase I trial combining FUra (370 mg/m2) and LV (200 mg/m2), i.v. bolus daily x 5 days, with escalating doses of IFN-gamma (10-100 micro g/m2) s.c. on days 1, 3, and 5, every 28 days. Twenty-five patients with carcinomas were enrolled; 6 patients received IFN-gamma on days 1 and 3 only. The dose-limiting toxicity, stomatitis, occurred most frequently at 100 micro g/m2 IFN-gamma. Minor response or SD was observed in 2 of 9 patients and in 4 of 12 patients at dose levels of < or =50 micro g/m2 and > or =75 micro g/m2 IFN-gamma, respectively. Three evaluable chemonaive patients demonstrated partial response (2) or complete response (1). Serial plasma samples revealed peak FUra concentrations of >100 micro M; at 100 micro g/m2 IFN-gamma plasma concentrations >5 units/ml persisted for 6.5 h and >1 unit/ml for 28.5 h. The pharmacokinetic parameters of IFN-gamma correlated with a 2-3-fold up-regulation of Fas expression at 24 h in CD15+ cells in peripheral blood samples. Furthermore, clinically relevant IFN-gamma concentrations up-regulated Fas expression and sensitized HT29 colon carcinoma cells in vitro to FUra/LV cytotoxicity. On the basis of the modulation of Fas signaling, FUra/LV combined with IFN-gamma has shown activity in a Phase I trial in colorectal carcinoma and warrants additional evaluation in Phase II.
    Clinical Cancer Research 08/2002; 8(8):2488-98. · 7.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Seven pediatric rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) cell lines were resistant to the induction of apoptosis via the Fas death receptor. In contrast, four of seven lines (RD, Rh1, Rh18, and Rh30) were highly sensitive to tumor necrosis factor-alpha-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL). TRAIL induced apoptosis within 4 h and also reduced clonogenic survival, both reversible by caspase inhibitors. DR5 (but not DR4) was expressed at high level in all cell lines. Expression of the decoy receptors DcR1 and DcR2 did not correlate with TRAIL sensitivity. All RMS lines expressed the adapter molecule FADD, and six of seven expressed procaspase-8. Expression of the inhibitory proteins c-FLIPL and c-FLIPs was high in three TRAIL-sensitive (RD, Rh1, and Rh30) and two TRAIL-resistant (Rh28 and Rh41) lines. All RMS lines expressed Bid and procaspases-3, -6, -7, and -9. Procaspases-8 and -10 were highest in TRAIL-sensitive RMS (RD, Rh1, and Rh30), and procaspase-10 was not expressed in Rh18, Rh36, or Rh41. TRAIL induced loss of mitochondrial membrane potential in TRAIL-sensitive Rh1 but not in TRAIL-resistant Rh41 cells. There was no correlation between expression of members of the Bcl-2 family (Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, Bax, and Bak) and TRAIL sensitivity. TRAIL-sensitive Rh18 expressed procaspase-8 in the absence of procaspase-10 and c-FLIP, and procaspase-10 was not detected in TRAIL-resistant Rh41 in the presence of procaspase-8 and c-FLIP. Data suggest that caspase-8 may be sufficient to deliver the TRAIL-induced apoptotic signal in the absence of both caspase-10 and c-FLIP (Rh18) but not in the presence of c-FLIP (Rh41). In RD, Rh1, and Rh30, the presence of c-FLIP may require amplification of the apoptotic signal via caspase-10.
    Clinical Cancer Research 11/2000; 6(10):4119-27. · 7.84 Impact Factor