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Cancer Cell. 2005 Mar;7(3):227-38.

Key roles of BIM-driven apoptosis in epithelial tumors and rational chemotherapy.

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Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey 08854, USA.


Defective apoptosis not only promotes tumorigenesis, but also can confound chemotherapeutic response. Here we demonstrate that the proapoptotic BH3-only protein BIM is a tumor suppressor in epithelial solid tumors and also is a determinant in paclitaxel sensitivity in vivo. Furthermore, the H-ras/mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway conferred resistance to paclitaxel that was dependent on functional inactivation of BIM. Whereas paclitaxel induced BIM accumulation and BIM-dependent apoptosis in vitro and in tumors in vivo, the H-ras/MAPK pathway suppressed this BIM induction by phosphorylating BIM and targeting BIM for degradation in proteasomes. The proteasome inhibitor Velcade (P-341, Bortezomib) restored BIM induction, abrogated H-ras-dependent paclitaxel resistance, and promoted BIM-dependent tumor regression, suggesting the potential benefits of combinatorial chemotherapy of Velcade and paclitaxel.

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