PloS one

Molecular characterization of acquired tolerance of tumor cells to picropodophyllin (PPP).

PMID 21423728


Picropodophyllin (PPP) is a promising novel anti-neoplastic agent that efficiently kills tumor cells in vitro and causes tumor regression and increased survival in vivo. We have previously reported that PPP treatment induced moderate tolerance in two out of 10 cell lines only, and here report the acquired genomic and expression alterations associated with PPP selection over 1.5 years of treatment. Copy number alterations monitored using metaphase and array-based comparative genomic hybridization analyses revealed largely overlapping alterations in parental and maximally tolerant cells. Gain/amplification of the MYC and PVT1 loci in 8q24.21 were verified on the chromosome level. Abnormalities observed in connection to PPP treatment included regular gains and losses, as well as homozygous losses in 10q24.1-q24.2 and 12p12.3-p13.2 in one of the lines and amplification at 5q11.2 in the other. Abnormalities observed in both tolerant derivatives include amplification/gain of 5q11.2, gain of 11q12.1-q14.3 and gain of 13q33.3-qter. Using Nexus software analysis we combined the array-CGH data with data from gene expression profilings and identified genes that were altered in both inputs. A subset of genes identified as downregulated (ALDH1A3, ANXA1, TLR4 and RAB5A) or upregulated (COX6A1, NFIX, ME1, MAPK and TAP2) were validated by siRNA in the tolerant or parental cells to alter sensitivity to PPP and confirmed to alter sensitivity to PPP in further cell lines. Long-term PPP selection lead to altered gene expression in PPP tolerant cells with increase as well as decrease of genes involved in cell death such as PTEN and BCL2. In addition, acquired genomic copy number alterations were observed that were often reflected by altered mRNA expression levels for genes in the same regions.