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Oncogene. 2001 Jun 28;20(29):3888-96.

Constitutive activation of nuclear factor-kappaB prevents TRAIL-induced apoptosis in renal cancer cells.

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Department of Urology, Keio University School of Medicine, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-8582, Japan.


TRAIL has gained much attention for its specific induction of apoptosis in cancer cells but not in normal cells. This phenomenon has been explained thus: that cancer cells dominantly express death receptors while normal cells express decoy receptors. However, recent reports have shown that some cancer cell lines are resistant to TRAIL-induced apoptosis despite the absence of decoy receptors and the presence of death receptors. This suggested the existance of an inhibitory factor. We herein showed that NF-kappaB is a key molecule underlying the TRAIL-resistant mechanism in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) cell lines. We observed that NF-kappaB is constitutively activated in resistant cell lines. Forced expression of antisense cDNA of IkappaBalpha, a specific inhibitor of NF-kappaB, in TRAIL-sensitive cell lines with a low NF-kappaB activity result in constitutive activation of NF-kappaB and resistance to TRAIL-induced apoptosis. Adenoviral expression of a stable form of IkappaBalpha in the TRAIL-resistant cell lines induced apoptosis. These data suggest that RCC can be classified into two subsets: TRAIL-sensitive RCC with a low NF-kappaB activity and TRAIL-resistant RCC with constitutively activated NF-kappaB. In the former group TRAIL can be a treatment option, while in the latter group a molecular approach targeting NF-kappaB appears to be a promising therapy.

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