[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although several drugs have been designed in the last few years to target specific key pathways and functions in colorectal cancer (CRC), the backbone of CRC treatment is still made up of compounds which rely on DNA damage to accomplish their role. DNA damage response (DDR) and checkpoint pathways are intertwined signaling networks that arrest cell cycle, recognize and repair genetic mistakes which arise during DNA replication and transcription, as well as through the exposure to chemical and physical agents that interact with nucleic acids. The good but highly variable activity of DNA damaging agents in the treatment of CRC suggests that intrinsic alterations in DDR pathways and cell cycle checkpoints may contribute differentially to the way cancer cells react to DNA damage. In the present review, our aim is to depict the recent advances in understanding the molecular basis of the activity of DNA damaging agents used for the treatment of CRC. We focus on the known and potential drug targets that are part of these complex and intertwined pathways. We describe the potential role of the checkpoints in CRC, and how their pharmacological manipulation could lead to chemopotentiation or synergism with currently used drugs. Novel therapeutic agents playing a role in DDR and checkpoint inhibition are assessed. We discuss the possible rationale for combining PARP inhibition with DNA damaging agents, and we address the link between DDR and EGFR pathways in CRC.
Current cancer drug targets 03/2012; 12(4):356-71. · 5.13 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In an effort to develop strategies that improve the efficacy of existing anticancer agents, we have conducted a siRNA-based RNAi screen to identify genes that, when targeted by siRNA, improve the activity of the topoisomerase I (Top1) poison camptothecin (CPT). Screening was conducted using a set of siRNAs corresponding to over 400 apoptosisrelated genes in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. During the course of these studies, we identified the silencing of MAP3K7 as a significant enhancer of CPT activity. Follow-up analysis of caspase activity and caspase-dependent phosphorylation of histone H2AX demonstrated that the silencing of MAP3K7 enhanced CPT-associated apoptosis. Silencing MAP3K7 also sensitized cells to additional compounds, including CPT clinical analogs. This activity was not restricted to MDA-MB-231 cells, as the silencing of MAP3K7 also sensitized the breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-468 and HCT-116 colon cancer cells. However, MAP3K7 silencing did not affect compound activity in the comparatively normal mammary epithelial cell line MCF10A, as well as some additional tumorigenic lines. MAP3K7 encodes the TAK1 kinase, an enzyme that is central to the regulation of many processes associated with the growth of cancer cells (e.g. NF- κB, JNK, and p38 signaling). An analysis of TAK1 signaling pathway members revealed that the silencing of TAB2 also sensitizes MDA-MB-231 and HCT-116 cells towards CPT. These findings may offer avenues towards lowering the effective doses of Top1 inhibitors in cancer cells and, in doing so, broaden their application.
Current cancer drug targets 08/2011; 11(8):976-86. · 5.13 Impact Factor