Blockade of Stearoyl-CoA-desaturase 1 activity reverts resistance to cisplatin in lung cancer stem cells

Maria Elena Pisanu, Alessia Noto, Claudia De Vitis, Stefania Morrone, Giosuè Scognamiglio, Gerardo Botti, Federico Venuta, Daniele Diso, Ziga Jakopin, Fabrizio Padula, Alberto Ricci, Salvatore Mariotta, Maria Rosaria Giovagnoli, Enrico Giarnieri, Ivano Amelio, Massimiliano Agostini, Gerry Melino, Gennaro Ciliberto, Rita Mancini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Poor prognosis in lung cancer has been attributed to the presence of lung cancer stem cells (CSCs) which resist chemotherapy and cause disease recurrence. Hence, the strong need to identify mechanisms of chemoresistance and to develop new combination therapies. We have previously shown that Stearoyl-CoA-desaturase 1 (SCD1), the enzyme responsible for the conversion of saturated to monounsaturated fatty acids is upregulated in 3D lung cancer spheroids and is an upstream activator of key proliferation pathways β-catenin and YAP/TAZ. Here we first show that SCD1 expression, either alone or in combination with a variety of CSCs markers, correlates with poor prognosis in adenocarcinoma (ADC) of the lung. Treatment of lung ADC cell cultures with cisplatin enhances the formation of larger 3D tumor spheroids and upregulates CSCs markers. In contrast, co-treatment with cisplatin and the SCD1 inhibitor MF-438 reverts upregulation of CSCs markers, strongly synergizes in the inhibition of 3D spheroids formation and induces CSCs apoptosis. Mechanistically, SCD1 inhibition activates endoplasmic reticulum stress response and enhances autophagy. These data all together support the use of combination therapy with SCD1 inhibitors to achieve better control of lung cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-104
Number of pages12
JournalCancer Letters
Publication statusPublished - Oct 10 2017


  • Cisplatin
  • Fatty acids
  • Lipid metabolism
  • Lung cancer stem cells
  • MF-438 inhibitor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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