PURPOSE: Tumor cells generally exhibit higher levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), however, when stressed, tumor cells can undergo a process of 'Redox Resetting' to acquire a new redox balance with stronger antioxidant systems that enable cancer cells to become resistant to radiation therapy (RT). Here, we describe how RT affects the oxidant/antioxidant balance in human embryonal (RD) and alveolar (RH30) rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) cell lines, investigating on the molecular mechanisms involved.
METHODS: Radiations were delivered using an x-6 MV photon linear accelerator and their effects were assessed by vitality and clonogenic assays. The expression of specific antioxidant-enzymes, such as Superoxide Dismutases (SODs), Catalase (CAT) and Glutathione Peroxidases 4 (GPx4), miRNAs (miR-22, -126, -210, -375, -146a, -34a) and the transcription factor NRF2 was analyzed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (q-PCR) and western blotting. RNA interference experiments were performed to evaluate the role of NRF2.
RESULTS: Doses of RT higher than 2 Gy significantly affected RMS clonogenic ability by increasing ROS production. RMS rapidly and efficiently brought back ROS levels by up-regulating the gene expression of antioxidant enzymes, miRNAs as well as of NRF2. Silencing of NRF2 restrained the RMS ability to counteract RT-induced ROS accumulation, antioxidant enzyme and miRNA expression and was able to increase the abundance of γ-H2AX, a biomarker of DNA damage, in RT-treated cells.
CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, our data suggest the strategic role of oxidant/antioxidant balance in restraining the therapeutic efficiency of RT in RMS treatment and identify NRF2 as a new potential molecular target whose inhibition might represent a novel radiosensitizing therapeutic strategy for RMS clinical management.
- Cell Line, Tumor
- Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
- NF-E2-Related Factor 2/biosynthesis
- Oxidation-Reduction/radiation effects
- RNA, Small Interfering/administration & dosage
- Radiation Tolerance
- Reactive Oxygen Species/metabolism
- Rhabdomyosarcoma, Alveolar/genetics
- Rhabdomyosarcoma, Embryonal/genetics
- Up-Regulation/radiation effects