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Clin Cancer Res. 2007 May 1;13(9):2811-21.

c-Myc-induced chemosensitization is mediated by suppression of cyclin D1 expression and nuclear factor-kappa B activity in pancreatic cancer cells.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan, USA.



Pancreatic cancer is a highly aggressive disease that remains refractory to various chemotherapeutic agents. Because the proto-oncogene c-myc can modulate apoptosis in response to cytotoxic insults and is commonly overexpressed in pancreatic cancer, we investigated the value of c-myc as a potential modulator of cellular response to various chemotherapeutic agents.


Stable overexpression or small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated knockdown of c-myc and restoration of cyclin D1 were done in the Ela-myc pancreatic tumor cell line. Cell viability after cisplatin treatment of c-myc-overexpressing, control, and siRNA-transfected cells was determined by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay and drug-induced apoptosis was measured by DNA fragmentation, sub-G(1), and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage analyses. Protein expression profile after cisplatin treatment was determined by Western blotting and DNA binding activity of nuclear factor-kappaB was examined by electrophoretic mobility shift assay.


Ectopic overexpression of c-myc in murine and human pancreatic cancer cell lines, Ela-myc and L3.6pl, respectively, resulted in increased sensitivity to cisplatin and other chemotherapeutic drugs. Increased sensitivity to cisplatin in c-myc-overexpressing cells was due, in part, to the marked increase in cisplatin-induced apoptosis. Conversely, down-regulation of c-myc expression in stable c-myc-overexpressing cells by c-myc siRNA resulted in decreased sensitivity to cisplatin-induced cell death. These results indicate an important role of c-myc in chemosensitivity of pancreatic cancer cells. The c-myc-induced cisplatin sensitivity correlated with inhibition of nuclear factor kappaB activity, which was partially restored by ectopic cyclin D1 overexpression.


Our results suggest that the c-myc-dependent sensitization to chemotherapy-induced apoptosis involves suppression of cyclin D1 expression and nuclear factor kappaB activity.

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