Nanoencapsulation of ABT-737 and camptothecin enhances their clinical potential through synergistic antitumor effects and reduction of systemic toxicity.
ABSTRACT: The simultaneous delivery of multiple cancer drugs in combination therapies to achieve optimal therapeutic effects in patients can be challenging. This study investigated whether co-encapsulation of the BH3-mimetic ABT-737 and the topoisomerase I inhibitor camptothecin (CPT) in PEGylated polymeric nanoparticles (NPs) was a viable strategy for overcoming their clinical limitations and to deliver both compounds at optimal ratios. We found that thrombocytopenia induced by exposure to ABT-737 was diminished through its encapsulation in NPs. Similarly, CPT-associated leukopenia and gastrointestinal toxicity were reduced compared with the administration of free CPT. In addition to the reduction of dose-limiting side effects, the co-encapsulation of both anticancer compounds in a single NP produced synergistic induction of apoptosis in both in vitro and in vivo colorectal cancer models. This strategy may widen the therapeutic window of these and other drugs and may enhance the clinical efficacy of synergistic drug combinations.
Project description:The intrinsic drug resistance of colorectal cancers is related in part to overexpression of prosurvival Bcl-2 family proteins. We determined the effects of ABT-737, a small-molecule inhibitor of Bcl-2/Bcl-xL but not Mcl-1, on apoptosis induction alone and in combination with CPT-11 and explored mechanisms underlying their cooperativity.Human colorectal carcinoma cell lines (HCT116 wild-type and Bax(-/-), HT-29, and RKO) were incubated with ABT-737 alone and combined with CPT-11 or bortezomib, and cell viability, caspase cleavage, and Annexin V labeling were measured. In drug-treated cell lines, protein-protein interactions were analyzed by immunoprecipitation. Lentiviral short hairpin RNA was used to knockdown Noxa expression.ABT-737 induced apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner and its coadministration with the topoisomerase I inhibitor, CPT-11, resulted in a synergistic cytotoxic effect. Apoptosis induction by the drug combination was associated with enhanced caspase-8, caspase-9, and caspase-3 activation and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage that were completely abrogated in Bax knockout cells. ABT-737 unsequestered the BH3-only protein Bim from its complex with Bcl-xL or Bcl-2 and disrupted the interaction of Bcl-xL with Bak. CPT-11 treatment up-regulated Noxa expression, as did bortezomib, and enhanced Noxa/Mcl-1 complexes. CPT-11 also disrupted the Mcl-1/Bak interaction. Knockdown of Noxa using short hairpin RNA lentiviral constructs was shown to significantly attenuate the cytotoxic effect of CPT-11 or bortezomib combined with ABT-737 and inhibited caspase-3 cleavage.Induction of Noxa by CPT-11 or bortezomib can sensitize colorectal cancer cells expressing Mcl-1 to ABT-737. Up-regulation of Noxa may therefore represent an important strategy to enhance the therapeutic efficacy of ABT-737 against colorectal cancer and other solid tumors.
Project description:Overexpression of the antiapoptotic protein Bcl-2 is observed in the majority of small cell lung cancer (SCLC) cases and is associated with resistance to chemotherapy. While targeting Bcl-2 in hematologic malignancies continues to show signs of promise, translating the BH3 mimetic ABT-737 (or ABT-263; navitoclax) to the clinic for solid tumors has remained problematic, with limited single-agent activity in early-phase clinical trials. Here, we used patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models of SCLC to study ABT-737 resistance and demonstrated that responses to ABT-737 are short lived and coincide with decreases in HIF-1?-regulated transcripts. Combining the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin with ABT-737 rescued this resistance mechanism, was highly synergistic in vitro, and provided durable tumor regressions in vivo without notable hematologic suppression. In comparison, tumor regressions did not occur when ABT-737 was combined with etoposide, a gold-standard cytotoxic for SCLC therapy. Rapamycin exposure was consistently associated with an increase in the proapoptotic protein BAX, whereas ABT-737 caused dose-dependent decreases in BAX. As ABT-737 triggers programmed cell death in a BAX/BAK-dependent manner, we provide preclinical evidence that the efficacy of ABT-737 as a single agent is self-limiting in SCLC, but the addition of rapamycin can maintain or increase levels of BAX protein and markedly enhance the anticancer efficacy of ABT-737. These data have direct translational implications for SCLC clinical trials.
Project description:The BH3 mimetic ABT-737 is a potent inhibitor of the anti-apoptotic proteins Bcl-2, Bcl-X(L), and Bcl-w. The Bcl-2 family modulates sensitivity to anticancer drugs in many cancers, including melanomas. In this study, we examined whether ABT-737 is effective in killing melanoma cells either alone or in combination with a proteasome inhibitor already in clinical use (Bortezomib) in vitro and in vivo, and further evaluated the mechanisms of action. Results showed that ABT-737 alone induced modest cytotoxicity in melanoma cells, but only at higher doses. Knock-down of the anti-apoptotic proteins Bcl-2, Bcl-X(L), or Mcl-1 with siRNAs demonstrated that Mcl-1 is the critical mediator of melanoma's resistance to ABT-737 treatment. However, ABT-737 displayed strong synergistic lethality when combined with Bortezomib. Immunoblot analyses demonstrated that Bortezomib increased expression of Noxa, a pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 member that antagonizes Mcl-1. Additionally, siRNA-mediated inhibition of Noxa expression protected melanoma cells from cytotoxicity induced by the combination treatment. These results demonstrate that Bortezomib synergizes with ABT-737 by neutralizing Mcl-1's function via increased levels of Noxa. In a xenograft mouse model, although drug doses were limited due to toxicity, ABT-737 or Bortezomib slowed melanoma tumor growth compared to the control, and the drug combination significantly decreased growth compared to either drug alone. These data imply that less toxic drugs fulfilling a function similar to Bortezomib to neutralize Mcl-1 are promising candidates for combination with ABT-737 for treating melanomas.
Project description:Purpose:This study aimed to validate the synergistic effect of ABT-737 on docetaxel using MDA-MB-231, a triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) cell line overexpressing B-cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2). Methods:Western blot analysis was performed to assess expression levels of Bcl-2 family proteins and caspase-related molecules. Cell viability was assessed by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. Cell cycle distribution was determined by flow cytometry analysis. Benzyloxycarbonyl-Val-Ala-Asp(OMe)-fluoromethylketone (z-VAD-fmk) was used for pretreatment to assess the role of caspases. Results:Cell viability of MDA-MB-231 after combination treatment with ABT-737 and docetaxel was significantly lower than that after docetaxel or ABT-737 monotherapy based on MTT assay (both P < 0.001), with a combination index of 0.41. The proportion of sub-G1 population after combination treatment was significantly higher than that after docetaxel or ABT-737 monotherapy (P = 0.001, P = 0.003, respectively). Pretreatment with z-VAD-fmk completely restored cell viability of MDA-MB-231 from apoptotic cell death induced by combination therapy (P = 0.001). Although pro-caspase-8 or Bid did not show significant change in expression level, pro-casepase-9 showed significantly decreased expression after combination treatment. Cleaved caspase-3 showed increased expression while poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage was induced after combination treatment. However, hypoxia-inducible factor 1-alpha and aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 totally lost their expression after combination treatment. Conclusion:Combination of ABT-737 with docetaxel elicits synergistic therapeutic effect on MDA-MB-231, a TNBC cell line overexpressing Bcl-2, mainly by activating the intrinsic pathway of apoptosis. Therefore, adjunct of ABT-737 to docetaxel might be a new therapeutic option to overcome docetaxel resistance of TNBCs overexpressing Bcl-2.
Project description:Overexpression of Bcl-X(L), an antiapoptotic Bcl-2 family member, occurs in a majority of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs) and correlates with chemotherapy resistance in this disease. Overexpression of Bcl-2 is also observed in HNSCC, albeit less frequently. We have previously shown that peptides derived from the BH3 domains of proapoptotic proteins can be used to target Bcl-X(L) and Bcl-2 in HNSCC cells, promoting apoptosis. In this report, we examined the impact of ABT-737 (for structure, see Nature 435: 677-681, 2005 ), a potent small-molecule inhibitor of Bcl-X(L) and Bcl-2, on HNSCC cells. As a single agent, ABT-737 was largely ineffective at promoting HNSCC cell death. By contrast, ABT-737 strongly synergized with the chemotherapy drugs cisplatin and etoposide to promote HNSCC cell death and loss of clonogenic survival. Synergism between ABT-737 and chemotherapy was associated with synergistic activation of caspase-3 and cleavage of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase. Treatment with ABT-737 plus chemotherapy resulted in dramatic up-regulation of proapoptotic Noxa protein, and small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated inhibition of Noxa up-regulation partially attenuated cell death by the synergistic combination. Treatment with cisplatin or etoposide, alone or in combination with ABT-737, resulted in substantial down-regulation of Mcl-1L, a known inhibitor of ABT-737 action. Further down-regulation of Mcl-1L using siRNA failed to enhance killing by the cisplatin/ABT-737 synergistic combination, indicating that chemotherapy treatment of HNSCC cells is sufficient to remove this impediment to ABT-737. Together, our results demonstrate potent synergy between ABT-737 and chemotherapy drugs in the killing of HNSCC cells and reveal an important role for Noxa in mediating synergism by these agents.
Project description:In cancer, combinations of drugs targeting different cellular functions is well accepted to improve tumor control. We studied the effects of a Pseudomonas exotoxin A (PE)-based immunotoxin, the 9.2.27PE, and the BH-3 mimetic compound ABT-737 in a panel of melanoma cell lines. The drug combination resulted in synergistic cytotoxicity, and the cell death observed was associated with apoptosis, as activation of caspase-3, inactivation of Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) and increased DNA fragmentation could be prevented by pre-treatment with caspase and cathepsin inhibitors. We further show that ABT-737 caused endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress with increased GRP78 and phosphorylated eIF2? protein levels. Moreover, treatment with ABT-737 increased the intracellular calcium levels, an effect which was enhanced by 9.2.27PE, which as a single entity drug had minimal effect on calcium release from the ER. In addition, silencing of Mcl-1 by short hairpin RNA (shRNA) enhanced the intracellular calcium levels and cytotoxicity caused by ABT-737. Notably, the combination of 9.2.27PE and ABT-737 caused growth delay in a human melanoma xenograft mice model, supporting further investigations of this particular drug combination.
Project description:A subset of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), which does not have a druggable driver mutation, is treated with platinum-based cytotoxic chemotherapy, but it develops resistance triggered by DNA damage responses. Here, we investigated the effect of activation of STAT3 by cisplatin on anti-apoptotic proteins and the effectiveness of a co-treatment with cisplatin and a BH3 mimetic, ABT-737. We analyzed the relationship between cisplatin and STAT3 pathway and effect of ABT-737, when combined with cisplatin in NSCLC cells and K-ras mutant mouse models. The synergism of this combination was evaluated by the Chou-Talalay Combination Index method. In vivo activity was evaluated by micro-CT. In NSCLC cells, there was a time and dose-dependent phosphorylation of SRC-JAK2-STAT3 by cisplatin, followed by increased expression of anti-apoptotic molecules. When the expression of the BCL-2 protein family members was evaluated in clinical samples, BCL-xL was most frequently overexpressed. Dominant negative STAT3 suppressed their expression, suggesting that STAT3 mediates cisplatin mediated overexpression of the anti-apoptotic molecules. ABT-737 displaced BCL-xL from mitochondria and induced oligomerization of BAK. ABT-737 itself showed cytotoxic effects and a combination of ABT-737 with cisplatin showed strong synergistic cytotoxicity. In a murine lung cancer model, co-treatment with ABT-737 and cisplatin induced significant tumor regression. These findings reveal a synergistic cytotoxic and anti-tumor activity of ABT-737 and cisplatin co-treatment in preclinical models, and suggest that clinical trials using this strategy may be beneficial in advanced NSCLC.
Project description:ABT-737, a B cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2) family inhibitor, activates apoptosis in cancer cells. Arsenic trioxide is an apoptosis activator that impairs cancer cell survival. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of a combination treatment with ABT-737 and arsenic trioxide on uterine cervical cancer cells. MTT (3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-25-diphenyltetrazolium bromide) assay revealed that ABT-737 and arsenic trioxide induced a synergistic effect on uterine cervical cancer cells. Arsenic trioxide enhanced ABT-737-induced apoptosis and caspase-7 activation and the ABT-737-mediated reduction of anti-apoptotic protein Mcl-1 in Caski cells. Western blot assay revealed that arsenic trioxide promoted the ABT-737-mediated reduction of CDK6 and thymidylate synthetase in Caski cells. Arsenic trioxide promoted ABT-737-inhibited mitochondrial membrane potential and ABT-737-inhibited ANT expression in Caski cells. However, ABT-737-elicited reactive oxygen species were not enhanced by arsenic trioxide. The combined treatment induced an anti-apoptosis autophagy in SiHa cells. This study is the first to demonstrate that a combination treatment with ABT-737 and arsenic trioxide induces a synergistic effect on uterine cervical cancer cells through apoptosis. Our findings provide new insights into uterine cervical cancer treatment.
Project description:To search for novel strategies to enhance the tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)-induced apoptosis pathways in glioblastoma, we used the B-cell lymphoma 2/Bcl2-like 2-inhibitor ABT-737. Here we report that ABT-737 and TRAIL cooperate to induce apoptosis in several glioblastoma cell lines in a highly synergistic manner (combination index <0.1). Interestingly, the concerted action of ABT-737 and TRAIL to trigger the accumulation of truncated Bid (tBid) at mitochondrial membranes is identified as a key underlying mechanism. ABT-737 and TRAIL cooperate to cleave BH3-interacting domain death agonist (Bid) into its active fragment tBid, leading to increased accumulation of tBid at mitochondrial membranes. Coinciding with tBid accumulation, the activation of Bcl2-associated X protein (Bax), loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, release of cytochrome-c and second mitochondria-derived activator of caspase (Smac) into the cytosol and caspase activation are strongly increased in cotreated cells. Of note, knockdown of Bid significantly decreases ABT-737- and TRAIL-mediated Bax activation and apoptosis. Also, caspase-3 silencing reduces ABT-737- and TRAIL-induced Bid cleavage and apoptosis, indicating that a caspase-3-driven, mitochondrial feedback loop contributes to Bid processing. Importantly, ABT-737 profoundly enhances TRAIL-triggered apoptosis in primary cultured glioblastoma cells derived from tumor material, underlining the clinical relevance. Also, ABT-737 acts in concert with TRAIL to suppress tumor growth in an in vivo glioblastoma model. In conclusion, the rational combination of ABT-737 and TRAIL cooperates to trigger tBid mitochondrial accumulation and apoptosis. This approach presents a promising strategy for targeting the apoptosis pathways in glioblastoma, which warrants further investigation.
Project description:Many types of cancer cells possess the ability to evade apoptosis, leading to their rapid and uncontrolled proliferation. As major regulators of apoptosis, Bcl-2 proteins serve as emerging targets for novel chemotherapeutic strategies. In this study, we examined the involvement of Bcl-2 proteins in apoptosis induced by the chemotherapeutic agent actinomycin D. A dramatic decrease in anti-apoptotic myeloid leukemia cell differentiation protein (Mcl-1) mRNA and protein expression was detected upon actinomycin D treatment. Further, Mcl-l over-expression caused resistance to cell death upon treatment with actinomycin D, implicating a role for the down-regulation of Mcl-1 in actinomycin D-induced apoptosis. We also explored the therapeutic potential of actinomycin D in combination with ABT-737, an experimental agent that inhibits anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 proteins. Actinomycin D sensitized cells to ABT-737 treatment in a Bak- or Bax-dependent manner. Importantly, low concentrations of actinomycin D and ABT-737 were more effective in inducing cell death in transformed cells than their untransformed counterparts. A synergistic effect of actinomycin D and ABT-737 on cell death was observed in several human tumor cell lines. Like actinomycin D treatment, knocking down Mcl-1 expression greatly sensitized tumor cells to ABT-737, and Mcl-1 over-expression abrogated the cytotoxic effect induced by ABT-737 and actinomycin D. These results suggest that the down-regulation of Mcl-1 by actinomycin D is likely responsible for the observed synergistic effect between the two drugs. Overall, our studies provide compelling evidence that the combination of actinomycin D and ABT-737 may lead to an effective cancer treatment strategy.