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Cell Cycle. 2007 Sep 1;6(17):2178-85. Epub 2007 Jun 27.

Nutlin-3 inhibits the NFkappaB pathway in a p53-dependent manner: implications in lung cancer therapy.

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Laboratory of Cell Cycle Control, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Proteos, Singapore.


Nutlins were identified as the first potent and specific small molecule Mdm2 antagonists that inhibit the p53-Mdm2 interaction. We show in this study that Nutlin-3 can downregulate TNFalpha induced activation of the NFkappaB reporter in lung cancer cells. Activation of p53 dependent transcription is not compromised when Nutlin-3 is combined with TNFalpha. Instead, this combination treatment decreases cell viability in a p53 dependent manner. We show that Nutlin-3 strikingly inhibits the protein expression of NFkappaB target genes ICAM-1 and MCP-1 while other targets like Bcl-xL and FLIP are not affected, thereby suggesting that the inhibition is promoter specific. This inhibition of ICAM-1 and MCP-1 by Nutlin-3 is again dependent on the p53 status in cells. Furthermore, we show that Nutlin-3 strongly inhibits protein expression of ICAM-1 and MCP-1 induced by IL1, another NFkappaB activating stimuli. Nutlin-3 does not inhibit Akt phosphorylation, IkappaB alpha phosphorylation, IkappaB alpha degradation, p65 modification or p65 DNA binding in the cell lines tested. This study suggests the potential of Nutlin-3 as a bitargeted anti-cancer drug by simultaneously causing p53 activation and NFkappaB suppression. It also suggests that Nutlin-3 could be evaluated for treatment of lung cancer as a single agent or in combination therapy by targeting its effect on ICAM-1 and MCP-1 which are known to be critical for cancer cell invasion, thereby downregulating tumor formation and metastasis. This study also suggests biomarkers of response for evaluation of Nutlin-3 in the clinic.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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