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Dermatology - Immunology - Microbiology - Oncology

Synergistic Anticancer Effects of the 9.2.27PE Immunotoxin and ABT-737 in Melanoma
Published: Wednesday, September 07, 2011
Author: Karianne Risberg et al.

by Karianne Risberg, Øystein Fodstad, Yvonne Andersson

In cancer, combinations of drugs targeting different cellular functions is well accepted to improve tumor control. We studied the effects of a Pseudomonas exotoxin A (PE) - based immunotoxin, the 9.2.27PE, and the BH-3 mimetic compound ABT-737 in a panel of melanoma cell lines. The drug combination resulted in synergistic cytotoxicity, and the cell death observed was associated with apoptosis, as activation of caspase-3, inactivation of Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) and increased DNA fragmentation could be prevented by pre-treatment with caspase and cathepsin inhibitors. We further show that ABT-737 caused endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress with increased GRP78 and phosphorylated eIF2a protein levels. Moreover, treatment with ABT-737 increased the intracellular calcium levels, an effect which was enhanced by 9.2.27PE, which as a single entity drug had minimal effect on calcium release from the ER. In addition, silencing of Mcl-1 by short hairpin RNA (shRNA) enhanced the intracellular calcium levels and cytotoxicity caused by ABT-737. Notably, the combination of 9.2.27PE and ABT-737 caused growth delay in a human melanoma xenograft mice model, supporting further investigations of this particular drug combination.