Dacarbazine Causes Transcriptional Up-Regulation of Interleukin 8 and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor in Melanoma Cells: A Possible Escape Mechanism from Chemotherapy1
The incidence of cutaneous malignant melanoma in the United States has increased more than any other cancer in recent years. Chemotherapy for metastatic melanoma is disappointing, there being anecdotal cases of complete remission. Dacarbazine (DTIC) is considered the gold standard for treatment, having a response rate of 15-20%, but most responses are not sustained. The mechanisms for the increased chemotherapeutic resistance of melanoma are unclear. The objective of this study was to determine the mechanisms by which melanoma cells escape the cytotoxic effect of DTIC. Here, we show that DTIC induced interleukin (IL)-8 and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) protein overexpression and secretion via transcriptional up-regulation in the two melanoma cell lines SB-2 and MeWo. Luciferase activity driven by the IL-8 and VEGF promoters was up-regulated by 1.5-2- and 1.6-3.5-fold, respectively, in the SB2 and MeWo melanoma cell lines. The mitogen-activated protein kinase signal transduction pathway seemed to regulate at least partially the activation of IL-8, whereas it was not involved in VEGF promoter regulation. Electrophoretic mobility shift analysis analyses have revealed an increase in binding activity of activator protein 1 (c-Jun) and nuclear factor-kappaB after DTIC treatment for both melanoma cell lines. Metastatic melanoma cell lines secreting high levels of IL-8 and VEGF were more resistant to DTIC than early primary melanomas secreting low levels of the cytokines. In addition, transfection of the primary cutaneous melanoma SB-2 cells with the IL-8 gene rendered them resistant to the cytotoxic effect of the drug, whereas the addition of IL-8-neutralizing antibody to metastatic melanoma cells lowered their sensitivity to DTIC. Taken together, our data demonstrate that DTIC can cause melanoma cells to secrete IL-8 and VEGF, which might render them resistant to the cytotoxic effects of the drug. We propose that combination treatment with anti-VEGF/IL-8 agents may potentiate the therapeutic effects of DTIC.
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