[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BRAF inhibitor (BRAFi) has been used for treatment of melanomas harboring V600E mutation. Despite a high initial response rate, resistance to BRAFi is inevitable. Here, we demonstrate that BRAFi-resistant (BR) melanomas are susceptible to arginine deprivation due to inability to initiate re-expression of argininosuccinate synthetase (ASS1, a key enzyme for arginine synthesis) as well as ineffective autophagy. Autophagy and ASS1 re-expression are known to protect melanoma cells from cell death upon arginine deprivation. When melanoma cells become BR cells by long-term in vitro incubation with BRAFi, c-Myc-mediated ASS1 re-expression and the levels of autophagy-associated proteins (AMPK-α1 and Atg5) are attenuated. Furthermore, our study uncovers that downregulation of deubiquitinase USP28 which results in more active c-Myc degradation via ubiquitin-proteasome machinery is the primary mechanism for inability to re-express ASS1 upon arginine deprivation in BR cells. Overexpression of USP28 in BR cells enhances c-Myc expression and hence increases ASS1 transcription upon arginine deprivation, and consequently leads to cell survival. On the other hand, overexpression of Atg5 or AMPK-α1 in BR cells can redirect arginine deprivation-induced apoptosis toward autophagy. The xenograft models also confirm that BR tumors possess lower expression of ASS1 and are hypersensitive to arginine deprivation. These biochemical changes in BRAFi resistance which make them vulnerable to arginine deprivation can be exploited for the future treatment of BR melanoma patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Loss of argininosuccinate synthetase (ASS) expression in melanoma makes these tumor cells vulnerable to arginine deprivation. Pegylated arginine deiminase (ADI-PEG20) which degrades arginine to citrulline and ammonia has been used clinically and partial responses and stable disease have been noted with minimal toxicity. In order to improve the therapeutic efficacy of ADI-PEG20, we have combined ADI-PEG20 with a DNA damaging agent, cisplatin. We have shown that the combination of the two drugs together significantly improved the therapeutic efficacy when compared to ADI-PEG20 alone or cisplatin alone in 4 melanoma cell lines, regardless of their BRAF mutation. In-vivo study also exhibited the same effect as in-vitro with no added toxicity to either agent alone. The underlying mechanism is complex, but increased DNA damage upon arginine deprivation due to decreased DNA repair proteins, FANCD2, ATM, and CHK1/2 most likely leads to increased apoptosis. This action is further intensified by increased proapoptotic protein, NOXA, and decreased antiapoptotic proteins, SURVIVIN, BCL2 and XIAP. The autophagic process which protects cells from apoptosis upon ADI-PEG20 treatment also dampens upon cisplatin administration. Thus, the combination of arginine deprivation and cisplatin function in concert to kill tumor cells which do not express ASS without added toxicity to normal cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Arginine deprivation is a promising strategy for treating ASS-negative malignant tumors including melanoma. However, autophagy can potentially counteract the effectiveness of this treatment by acting as a pro-survival pathway. By combining tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) with arginine deprivation using ADI-PEG20 (pegylated arginine deiminase), we achieved enhanced apoptosis and accelerated cell death in melanoma cell lines. This implies a switch from autophagy to apoptosis. In our current investigation, we found that TRAIL could induce the cleavage of two key autophagic proteins, Beclin-1 and Atg5, in the combination treatment. Using specific inhibitors for individual caspases, we found that caspase-8 inhibitor could completely abolish the cleavage. Furthermore, caspase-8 inhibitor was able to fully reverse the enhanced cytotoxicity induced by TRAIL. Inhibitors for caspase-3, 6, 9, and 10 were able to block the cleavage of these two autophagic proteins to some extent and correspondingly rescue cells from the cytotoxicity of the combination of TRAIL and arginine deprivation. In contrast, calpain inhibitor could not prevent the cleavage of either Beclin-1 or Atg5, and was unable to prevent cell death. Overall, our data indicate that the cleavage of Beclin-1 and Atg5 by TRAIL-initiated caspase activation is one of the mechanisms that lead to the enhancement of the cytotoxicity in the combination treatment.
No preview · Article · Nov 2012 · Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Elimination of cisplatin-resistant lung cancer cells remains a major obstacle. We have shown that cisplatin-resistant tumors have higher reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels and can be exploited for targeted therapy. Here, we show that increased secretion of the antioxidant thioredoxin-1 (TRX1) resulted in lowered intracellular TRX1 and contributed to higher ROS in cisplatin-resistant tumors in vivo and in vitro. By reconstituting TRX1 protein in cisplatin-resistant cells, we increased sensitivity to cisplatin but decreased sensitivity to elesclomol (ROS inducer). Conversely, decreased TRX1 protein in parental cells reduced the sensitivity to cisplatin but increased sensitivity to elesclomol. Cisplatin-resistant cells had increased endogenous oxygen consumption and mitochondrial activity but decreased lactic acid production. They also exhibited higher levels of argininosuccinate synthetase (ASS) and fumarase mRNA, which contributed to oxidative metabolism (OXMET) when compared with parental cells. Restoring intracellular TRX1 protein in cisplatin-resistant cells resulted in lowering ASS and fumarase mRNAs, which in turn sensitized them to arginine deprivation. Interestingly, cisplatin-resistant cells also had significantly higher basal levels of acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) and fatty acid synthase (FAS). Overexpressing TRX1 lowered ACC and FAS proteins expressions in cisplatin-resistant cells. Chemical inhibition and short interfering RNA of ACC resulted in significant cell death in cisplatin-resistant compared with parental cells. Conversely, TRX1 overexpressed cisplatin-resistant cells resisted 5-(tetradecyloxy)-2-furoic acid (TOFA)-induced death. Collectively, lowering TRX1 expression through increased secretion leads cisplatin-resistant cells to higher ROS production and increased dependency on OXMET. These changes raise an intriguing therapeutic potential for future therapy in cisplatin-resistant lung cancer.
Preview · Article · Mar 2012 · Molecular Cancer Therapeutics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Current treatment for advanced, metastatic melanoma is not very effective, and new modalities are needed. ADI-PEG20 is a drug that specifically targets ASS-negative malignant melanomas while sparing the ASS-expressing normal cells. Although laboratory research and clinical trials showed promising results, there are some ASS-negative cell lines and patients that can develop resistance to this drug. In this report, we combined ADI-PEG20 with another antitumor drug TRAIL to increase the killing of malignant melanoma cells. This combination can greatly inhibit cell growth (to over 80%) and also enhanced cell death (to over 60%) in four melanoma cell lines tested compared with control. We found that ADI-PEG20 could increase the cell surface receptors DR4/5 for TRAIL and that caspase activity correlated with the increased cell death. These two drugs could also increase the level of Noxa while decrease that of survivin. We propose that these two drugs can complement each other by activating the intrinsic and extrinsic apoptosis pathways, thus enhance the killing of melanoma cells.
Preview · Article · Mar 2010 · Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cisplatin is an important chemotherapeutic agent in lung cancer treatment. The mechanism of drug resistance to cisplatin is complex and historically has been difficult to overcome. We report here that cisplatin resistant lung cancer cell lines possess high basal levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) when compared to normal cells and their parental cell counterparts. These resistant cells also have low thioredoxin (TRX) levels which may be one of the contributory factors to high ROS. N'(1),N'(3)-dimethyl-N'(1),N'(3)-bis(phenylcarbonothioyl) propanedihydrazide (elesclomol), an agent known to increase ROS is selectively toxic to cisplatin-resistant cells, while sparing normal cells and the parental counterpart. The cytotoxic effect of elesclomol in resistant cells is accompanied by further decreases in TRX and glutathione (GSH) antioxidant systems, while opposite results were found in parental cells. The ID(50) of elesclomol in cisplatin-resistant cells ranged from 5-10 nM, which is well within clinically achievable ranges. N-Acetylcysteine (NAC), which is known to neutralize ROS, can abolish the cytotoxic effect of elesclomol, suggesting that the cytotoxic effect results from increased ROS. Overall, our data suggest that elesclomol selectively kills cisplatin-resistant tumor cells through increased ROS. This agent may hold potential to overcome cisplatin resistance and should be further explored to treat patients who have failed cisplatin therapy.