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Cancer Lett. 2015 Sep 1;365(2):211-22. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2015.05.024. Epub 2015 Jun 1.

HSP90 inhibition as a means of radiosensitizing resistant, aggressive soft tissue sarcomas.

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Clinic for Radiotherapy and Radiation Oncology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Munich, Germany.
Department of Organic Chemistry, NCCR Chemical Biology, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.
Department of Medical Statistics, University Medical Center Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany.
Clinic for Radiotherapy and Radiation Oncology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Munich, Germany. Electronic address:


Radiotherapy is an essential part of multi-modal treatment for soft tissue sarcomas. Treatment failure is commonly attributed to radioresistance, but comprehensive analyses of radiosensitivity are not available, and suitable biomarkers or candidates for targeted radiosensitization are scarce. Here, we systematically analyzed the intrinsic radioresistance of a panel of soft tissue sarcoma cell lines, and extracted scores of radioresistance by principal component analysis (PCA). To identify molecular markers of radioresistance, transcriptomic profiling of DNA damage response regulators was performed. The expression levels of HSP90 and its clients ATR, ATM, and NBS1 revealed strong, positive correlations with the PCA-derived radioresistance scores. Their functional involvement was addressed by HSP90 inhibition, which preferentially sensitized radioresistant sarcoma cells and was accompanied by delayed γ-H2AX foci clearance and HSP90 client protein degradation. The induction of apoptosis and necrosis was not significantly enhanced, but increased levels of basal and irradiation-induced senescence upon HSP90 inhibition were detected. Finally, evaluation of our findings in the TCGA soft tissue sarcoma cohort revealed elevated expression levels of HSP90, ATR, ATM, and NBS1 in a relevant subset of cases with particularly poor prognosis, which might preferentially benefit from HSP90 inhibition in combination with radiotherapy in the future.


HSP90 inhibition; Radioresistance; Radiosensitization; Radiotherapy; Soft tissue sarcoma

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