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Nitric Oxide. 2009 May;20(3):182-94. doi: 10.1016/j.niox.2008.11.006. Epub 2008 Dec 10.

In vitro and in vivo sensitization of SW620 metastatic colon cancer cells to CDDP-induced apoptosis by the nitric oxide donor DETANONOate: Involvement of AIF.

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Department of Surgery, University of Texas Southwestern at Dallas, 4500 Lancaster Road, Dallas, TX 75216, USA.


Tumor cells develop mechanisms that dysregulate apoptotic pathways resulting in resistance to cytotoxic stimuli. Primary SW480 and metastatic SW620 colon cancer cells are resistant to CDDP-induced apoptosis. Apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) was significantly downregulated in SW620 compared to SW480 cells; while apoptotic mediators such as Bax, Bcl-2, and Bcl(XL) were not altered in these cell lines. Examination of tumor tissues from patients with colon cancer demonstrated a significant downregulation of AIF in patients with advanced disease. The role of AIF expression in resistance was examined. Several lines of evidence suggest the involvement of AIF expression level in the sensitivity of SW620 to CDDP-induced apoptosis: (1) sensitization of SW620 by the NO donor DETANONOate to CDDP-induced apoptosis correlated with the induction of AIF as assessed by RT-PCR and Western blot analysis, (2) treatment of SW620 cells with siRNA AIF, but not with control siRNAs, inhibited DETANONOate-induced sensitization to CDDP apoptosis, (3) sensitization by DETANONOate observed in vitro was corroborated in vivo in nude mice bearing SW620 tumor xenografts and treated with the combination of DETANONOate and CDDP, and (4) tumor tissues derived from the SW620 xenografts revealed significant upregulation of AIF and increased apoptosis by DETANONOate and CDDP combination treatment. Altogether, these findings underscore the potential therapeutic application of NO donors and subtoxic chemotherapeutic drugs in the treatment of advanced colon cancer resistant to conventional chemotherapeutic agents.

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