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Oncogene. 2003 Jun 19;22(25):3842-52.

TRAIL induced survival and proliferation in cancer cells resistant towards TRAIL-induced apoptosis mediated by NF-kappaB.

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  • 1Dr von Haunersches Kinderspital, Department of Hematology/Oncology, Lindwurmstr 4, Munich 80337, Germany.


Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is a potent inducer of apoptosis in cancer cells. Examining primary cells of children with untreated acute leukemia, TRAIL induced apoptosis in 50% of cells, but to our surprise attenuated spontaneous apoptosis in the remaining samples or, most importantly, even mediated proliferation. We therefore examined tumor cell lines of leukemic and nonleukemic origin with apoptosis resistance towards TRAIL because of absent Caspase-8 or dysfunctional FADD. In all cell lines tested, TRAIL treatment increased cell numbers in average to 163% within 4 days and accelerated doubling time from 24 to 19 h. TRAIL-mediated proliferation was completely abrogated by blockade of NF-kappaB activation using proteasome inhibitors or in RIP-negative, IKKgamma-negative cells or in cells overexpressing dominant-negative IkappaBalpha. Our data describe the biological significance of TRAIL-mediated activation of NF-kappaB in cancer cells resistant to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis: TRAIL leads to an increase in tumor cell count by a prosurvival and possibly mitogenic function. Given the promising therapeutic potential of TRAIL as a novel anticancer drug, TRAIL-mediated survival or proliferation of target cells may restrict its use to apoptosis-sensitive tumors.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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