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Cell Cycle. 2002 Jan;1(1):82-9.

Enhanced sensitivity of G1 arrested human cancer cells suggests a novel therapeutic strategy using a combination of simvastatin and TRAIL.

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Laboratory of Molecular Oncology and Cell Cycle Regulation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia 19104, USA.


Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) preferentially induces apoptosis in tumor cells over normal cells. To study the relationship between cell cycle progression and TRAIL-induced apoptosis, SW480 colon cancer and H460 lung cancer cell lines were examined for their sensitivity to TRAIL after arrest in different cell cycle phases. Cells were synchronized in G0/G1, S, and G2/M phase by serum starvation, aphidicolin, or nocodazole treatment, respectively. We found that arrest of cells in G0/G1 phase confers significantly higher susceptibility to TRAIL-induced apoptosis as compared to cells in late G1, S, or G2/M phase. To determine if cell cycle phase could be harnessed for therapeutic gain in the presence of TRAIL, we used the HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, Simvastatin and lovastatin, to enrich a cancer cell population in G0/G1. Both simvastatin and lovastatin significantly augmented TRAIL-induced apoptosis in tumor cells, but not in normal keratinocytes. The results indicate that TRAIL, in combination with a HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, may have therapeutic potential in the treatment of human cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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