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Cancer Res. 2002 Jun 1;62(11):3093-9.

Induction and regulation of tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand/Apo-2 ligand-mediated apoptosis in renal cell carcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Urology, 428 MRC, University of Iowa, 200 Hawkins Drive, Iowa City, IA 52242-1089, USA.


The lack of effective therapy for disseminated renal cell carcinoma (RCC) has stimulated the search for novel treatments including immunotherapeutic strategies. However, poor therapeutic responses and marked toxicity associated with immunological agents has limited their use. The tumor necrosis factor family member tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)/Apo-2 ligand induces apoptosis in a variety of tumor cell types, while having little cytotoxic activity against normal cells. In this study the activation and regulation of TRAIL-induced apoptosis and TRAIL receptor expression in human RCC cell lines and pathologic specimens was examined. TRAIL induced caspase-mediated apoptotic death of RCC cells with variable sensitivities among the cell lines tested. Compared with TRAIL-sensitive RCC cell lines (A-498, ACHN, and 769-P), the TRAIL-resistant RCC cell line (786-O) expressed lesser amounts of the death-inducing TRAIL receptors, and greater amounts of survivin, an inhibitor of apoptosis. Incubation of 786-O with actinomycin D increased the expression of the death-inducing TRAIL receptors and, concomitantly, decreased the intracellular levels of survivin, resulting in TRAIL-induced apoptotic death. The link between survivin and TRAIL regulation was confirmed when an increase in TRAIL resistance was observed after overexpression of survivin in the TRAIL-sensitive, survivin-negative RCC line A-498. These findings, along with our observation that TRAIL receptors are expressed in RCC tumor tissue, suggest that TRAIL may be useful as a therapeutic agent for RCC and that survivin may partially regulate TRAIL-induced cell death.

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