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Toxicol Lett. 2013 Oct 24;222(2):139-45. doi: 10.1016/j.toxlet.2013.07.022. Epub 2013 Aug 2.

Salinomycin induces apoptosis in cisplatin-resistant colorectal cancer cells by accumulation of reactive oxygen species.

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Department of General Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, 215006, China.


Postoperative chemotherapy for Colorectal cancer (CRC) patients is not all effective and the main reason might lie in cancer stem cells (CSCs). Emerging studies showed that CSCs overexpress some drug-resistance related proteins, which efficiently transport the chemotherapeutics out of cancer cells. Salinomycin, which considered as a novel and an effective anticancer drug, is found to have the ability to kill both CSCs and therapy-resistant cancer cells. To explore the potential mechanisms that salinomycin could specifically target on therapy-resistant cancer cells in colorectal cancers, we firstly obtained cisplatin-resistant (Cisp-resistant) SW620 cells by repeated exposure to 5 μmol/l of cisplatin from an original colorectal cancer cell line. These Cisp-resistant SW620 cells, which maintained a relative quiescent state (G0/G1 arrest) and displayed stem-like signatures (up-regulations of Sox2, Oct4, Nanog, Klf4, Hes1, CD24, CD26, CD44, CD133, CD166, Lgr5, ALDH1A1 and ALDH1A3 mRNA expressions) (p < 0.05), were sensitive to salinomycin (p < 0.05). Salinomycin did not show the influence on the cell cycle of Cisp-resistant SW620 cells (p > 0.05), but could induce cell death process (p < 0.05), with increased levels of LDH release and MDA contents as well as down-regulations of SOD and GSH-PX activities (p < 0.05). Our data also showed that the pro-apoptotic genes (Caspase-3, Caspase-8, Caspase-9 and Bax) were up-regulated and the anti-apoptotic gene Bcl-2 were down-regulated in Cisp-resistant SW620 cells (p < 0.05). Accumulated reactive oxygen species and dysregulation of some apoptosis-related genes might ultimately lead to apoptosis in Cisp-resistant SW620 cells. These findings will provide new clues for novel and selective chemotherapy on cisplatin-resistant colorectal cancer cells.


Apoptosis; Cisplatin-resistant; Reactive oxygen species; Salinomycin

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