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Cancer Res. 2006 Mar 15;66(6):3126-36.

Akt-mediated cisplatin resistance in ovarian cancer: modulation of p53 action on caspase-dependent mitochondrial death pathway.

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Reproductive Biology Unit and Division of Gynaecology Oncology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


Akt is a determinant of cisplatin [cis-diammine-dichloroplatinum (CDDP)] resistance in ovarian cancer cells, and this may be related to the regulation of p53. Precisely how Akt facilitates CDDP resistance and interacts with p53 is unclear. Apoptotic stimuli induce second mitochondria-derived activator of caspase (Smac) release from mitochondria into the cytosol, where it attenuates inhibitor of apoptosis protein-mediated caspase inhibition. Whereas Smac release is regulated by p53 via the transactivation of proapoptotic Bcl-2 family members, it is unclear whether p53 also facilitates Smac release via its direct mitochondrial activity. Here we show that CDDP induces mitochondrial p53 accumulation, the mitochondrial release of Smac, cytochrome c, and HTR/Omi, and apoptosis in chemosensitive but not in resistant ovarian cancer cells. Smac release was p53 dependent and was required for CDDP-induced apoptosis. Mitochondrial p53 directly induced Smac release. Akt attenuated mitochondrial p53 accumulation and Smac/cytochrome c/Omi release and conferred resistance. Inhibition of Akt facilitated Smac release and sensitized chemoresistant cells to CDDP in a p53-dependent manner. These results suggest that Akt confers resistance, in part, by modulating the direction action of p53 on the caspase-dependent mitochondrial death pathway. Understanding the precise etiology of chemoresistance may improve treatment for ovarian cancer.

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