Differential response of head and neck cancer cell lines to TRAIL or Smac mimetics is associated with the cellular levels and activity of caspase-8 and caspase-10

N. Raulf, R. El-Attar, D. Kulms, D. Lecis, D. Delia, H. Walczak, K. Papenfuss, E. Odell, M. Tavassoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background:Current treatment strategies for head and neck cancer are associated with significant morbidity and up to 50% of patients relapse, highlighting the need for more specific and effective therapeutics. Tumour necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) and Smac mimetics (SMs) are promising anticancer agents, but their effect on head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) remains unknown.Methods:We examined the response of a panel of nine HNSCC cell lines to TRAIL and SMs and investigated the mechanism of cell type-specific response by functional analysis.Results:Head and neck cancer cell lines revealed a converse response pattern with three cell lines being highly sensitive to Smac-164 (SM) but resistant to TRAIL, whereas the other six were sensitive to TRAIL but resistant to SM. Distinct protein expression and activation patterns were found to be associated with susceptibility of HNSCC cell lines to TRAIL and SM. Tumour necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand sensitivity was associated with high caspase-8 and Bid protein levels, and TRAIL-sensitive cell lines were killed via the type II extrinsic apoptotic pathway. Smac mimetic-sensitive cells expressed low levels of caspase-8 and Bid but had high TNF-α expression. Smac mimetic-induced cell death was associated with caspase-10 activation, suggesting that in the absence of caspase-8, caspase-10 mediates response to SM. Cotreatment with TNF-α sensitised the resistant cells to SM, demonstrating a decisive role for TNF-α-driven feedback loop in SM sensitivity.Conclusions:Tumour necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand and SMs effectively kill HNSCC cell lines and therefore represent potential targeted therapeutics for head and neck cancer. Distinct molecular mechanisms determine the sensitivity to each agent, with levels of TNF-α, caspase-8, Bid and caspase-10 providing important predictive biomarkers of response to these agents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1955-1964
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Volume111
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 11 2014

Keywords

  • caspase-10
  • caspase-8
  • HNSCC
  • Smac mimetics
  • TNF-α
  • TRAIL

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Medicine(all)

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