Cellular signalling

HSP90 inhibitor NVP-AUY922 enhances TRAIL-induced apoptosis by suppressing the JAK2-STAT3-Mcl-1 signal transduction pathway in colorectal cancer cells.

PMID 25446253


TRAIL has been shown to induce apoptosis in cancer cells, but in some cases, certain cancer cells are resistant to this ligand. In this study, we explored the ability of representative HSP90 (heat shock protein 90) inhibitor NVP-AUY922 to overcome TRAIL resistance by increasing apoptosis in colorectal cancer (CRC) cells. The combination of TRAIL and NVP-AUY922 induced synergistic cytotoxicity and apoptosis, which was mediated through an increase in caspase activation. The treatment of NVP-AUY922 dephosphorylated JAK2 and STAT3 and decreased Mcl-1, which resulted in facilitating cytochrome c release. NVP-AUY922-mediated inhibition of JAK2/STAT3 signaling and down-regulation of their target gene, Mcl-1, occurred in a dose and time-dependent manner. Knock down of Mcl-1, STAT3 inhibitor or JAK2 inhibitor synergistically enhanced TRAIL-induced apoptosis. Taken together, our results suggest the involvement of the JAK2-STAT3-Mcl-1 signal transduction pathway in response to NVP-AUY922 treatment, which may play a key role in NVP-AUY922-mediated sensitization to TRAIL. By contrast, the effect of the combination treatments in non-transformed colon cells was minimal. We provide a clinical rationale that combining HSP90 inhibitor with TRAIL enhances therapeutic efficacy without increasing normal tissue toxicity in CRC patients.