Cancer science

Poly-S-nitrosated human albumin enhances the antitumor and antimetastasis effect of bevacizumab, partly by inhibiting autophagy through the generation of nitric oxide.

PMID 25457681


Autophagy is one of the major causes of drug resistance. For example, the angiogenesis inhibitor bevacizumab shows only transient and short-term therapeutic effects, whereas long-term therapeutic benefits are rarely observed, probably due to hypoxia-induced autophagy. Nitric oxide (NO) is an important molecule with multiple functions, and it has recently been reported to function as a regulator of autophagy. Therefore, a reasonable therapeutic strategy for overcoming drug resistance by NO would involve it being directly delivered to the tumor. Here, we investigated the inhibitory effect of NO on autophagy by using a macromolecular NO donor S-nitrosated human serum albumin (SNO-HSA) with a high degree of NO loading and tumor targeting potential. In colon 26 (C26) cells, SNO-HSA significantly suppressed hypoxia-induced autophagy by inhibiting the phosphorylation of JNK1 and the expression of its downstream molecule Beclin1. The effect of SNO-HSA was also confirmed in vivo by combining it with Bev. In C26-bearing mice, significant suppression of tumor growth as well as lung metastasis was achieved in the combination group compared to the SNO-HSA or bevacizumab alone group. Similar to the in vitro experiments, the immunostaining of tumor tissues clearly showed that SNO-HSA inhibited the autophagy of tumor cells induced by bevacizumab treatment. In addition to other known antitumor effects of SNO-HSA, that is, the induction of apoptosis and the inhibition of multidrug efflux pumps, these data may open alternate strategies for cancer chemotherapy by taking advantage of the ability of SNO-HSA to suppress autophagy-mediated drug resistance and enhance the efficacy of chemotherapy.