Send to

Choose Destination
Mol Cancer Ther. 2010 Nov;9(11):2893-902. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-10-0635. Epub 2010 Oct 26.

PUMA induction by FoxO3a mediates the anticancer activities of the broad-range kinase inhibitor UCN-01.

Author information

Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.


Most targeted anticancer drugs are inhibitors of kinases that are aberrantly activated in cancer cells. However, the mechanisms by which kinase inhibitors suppress tumor growth remain unclear. In this study, we found that UCN-01, a staurosporine analogue and broad-range kinase inhibitor used in clinical trials, inhibits colon cancer cell growth by inducing apoptosis via PUMA, a BH3-only Bcl-2 family member and a p53 target. PUMA expression was markedly elevated in a p53-independent fashion following UCN-01 treatment. The induction of PUMA by UCN-01 was mediated by direct binding of FoxO3a to the PUMA promoter following inhibition of AKT signaling. Deficiency in PUMA abrogated UCN-01-induced apoptosis, caspase activation, and mitochondrial dysfunction, and rendered UCN-01 resistance in a clonogenic assay, whereas elevated PUMA expression or a BH3 mimetic sensitized UCN-01 induced apoptosis. Chemosensitization by UCN-01 seemed to involve simultaneous PUMA induction through both p53-dependent and p53-independent mechanisms. Furthermore, deficiency in PUMA suppressed the antitumor effects of UCN-01 in a xenograft model, concurrent with reduced apoptosis and caspase activation in vivo. These results suggest that PUMA-mediated apoptosis is pivotal for the anticancer activities of UCN-01, and possibly other clinically used kinase inhibitor drugs, and that PUMA manipulation may be useful for improving their anticancer activities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Publication types, MeSH terms, Substances, Grant support

Publication types

MeSH terms


Grant support

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center