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Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 2012 Sep;111(3):173-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-7843.2012.00883.x. Epub 2012 Apr 16.

Combined effect of Hsp90 inhibitor geldanamycin and parthenolide via reactive oxygen species-mediated apoptotic process on epithelial ovarian cancer cells.

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Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, South Korea.


Hsp90 inhibitor geldanamycin and parthenolide have been shown to induce apoptosis in cancer cells. However, the combined effect of geldanamycin and parthenolide on epithelial ovarian cancer cells has not been studied. In respect of cell death process, we investigated the promoting effect of parthenolide on geldanamycin-induced apoptosis in the human epithelial ovarian carcinoma cell lines OVCAR-3 and SK-OV-3. Geldanamycin induced a decrease in Bid, Bcl-2, Bcl-xL and survivin protein levels; an increase in Bax and tumour suppressor p53 levels; loss of the mitochondrial transmembrane potential; cytochrome c release; activation of caspases (-8, -9 and -3); cleavage of PARP-1; and increase in the reactive oxygen species formation. Parthenolide enhanced geldanamycin-induced changes in the apoptosis-related protein levels, reactive oxygen species formation, nuclear damage and cell death. The combined effect was inhibited by the addition of oxidant scavengers. The results suggest that parthenolide may potentiate the apoptotic effect of geldanamycin on ovarian carcinoma cell lines by the activation of the caspase-8- and Bid-dependent pathway and the mitochondria-mediated apoptotic pathway. The apoptosis-promoting effect seems to be mediated by the stimulatory effect on the formation of reactive oxygen species.

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