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Anticancer Drugs. 2012 Jul;23(6):614-26. doi: 10.1097/CAD.0b013e3283504e53.

Noxa/Mcl-1 balance influences the effect of the proteasome inhibitor MG-132 in combination with anticancer agents in pancreatic cancer cell lines.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Biology and Biotechnology, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany.


Pancreatic cancer progresses aggressively and owing to chemoresistance responds poorly to chemotherapy. Thus, there is an urgent need to understand the mechanisms of cancer cell resistance to generate effective strategies to circumvent intrinsic chemoresistance in this tumour indication. In this study, three pancreatic cancer cell lines, MIA PaCa-2, MDAPanc-3 and AsPC-1, were treated with the proteasome inhibitor MG-132 together with camptothecin, doxorubicin or paclitaxel, and cytotoxicity was measured using the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay. The combination of MG-132 and camptothecin at a ratio of 5 : 1 gave the most promising results and enhanced cytotoxicity compared with the single compounds in MIA PaCa-2 cells. The increase was shown to be due to enhanced caspase-3 activity resulting in apoptosis. Moreover, this combination upregulated the levels of the proapoptotic protein Noxa and reduced the levels of the antiapoptotic protein Mcl-1, as demonstrated by western blotting. In contrast, the combination of MG-132 with doxorubicin also induced increased cytotoxicity, but apoptosis was decreased. The lack of an enhanced apoptosis induction could be correlated with high levels of Mcl-1 in response to the combined treatment with MG-132 and doxorubicin. Thus, the results indicate that regulation of the antiapoptotic and proapoptotic Bcl-2 family members Noxa and Mcl-1 is predicative of the effectiveness of the combination of MG-132 with different anticancer agents on apoptosis induction in pancreatic cancer cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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