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Mol Cancer Ther. 2004 Jul;3(7):861-72.

Transcriptional signature of flavopiridol-induced tumor cell death.

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Molecular Radiation Therapeutics Branch, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-1002, USA.


Flavopiridol has been shown to inhibit the proliferation of a variety of human tumor cells and is currently undergoing clinical evaluation in cancer treatment. Although the antiproliferative effect of flavopiridol has been attributed to the inhibition of cyclin-dependent kinases 2 and 4, recent reports indicate that the mechanism responsible for the cell death induced by this agent is more complex. To provide insight into the molecular processes mediating flavopiridol-induced cytotoxicity and to investigate the availability of markers indicative of its activity, we have applied cDNA microarray technology. Gene expression profiles were determined for four human tumor cell lines (prostate carcinomas PC3 and DU145 and gliomas SF359 and U251) following exposure to selected concentrations of flavopiridol. Treatment of these cell lines with a concentration of flavopiridol sufficient to reduce survival to 10% resulted in the identification of a set of 209 genes, the expression of which were altered in each of the cell lines. This common set of 209 gene expression changes suggested that flavopiridol-induced cell death can be defined in terms of a specific transcriptome. The flavopiridol death transcriptome consisted primarily of down-regulated genes; however, there were also a significant number of genes with increased expression. Whereas causal relationships were not established, these data suggest molecular events/processes that may be associated with flavopiridol-induced tumor cell death. Moreover, the identification of a set of gene expression changes in four human tumor cell lines suggests that such a transcriptome may be applicable to investigations of flavopiridol pharmacodynamics.

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