Biochemical and biophysical research communications

RAD001 (everolimus) enhances TRAIL cytotoxicity in human leukemic Jurkat T cells by upregulating DR5.

PMID 26074143


Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL), either alone or in combination with other anti-cancer agents, is a promising new strategy for the treatment of cancer. However, aberrant PI3K/Akt/mTOR survival signaling may confer TRAIL resistance by altering the balance between pro- and anti-apoptotic proteins. In the present study, we showed that the Akt/mTOR inhibitor RAD001 (everolimus) induced cell death in a dose-dependent manner and enhanced TRAIL-induced apoptosis in human leukemic Jurkat T cells, which show PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway activation and basal expression levels of death receptor (DR) 5 (TRAIL-R2). Investigation of the effect of RAD001 treatment on the expression of TRAIL receptors (TRAIL-Rs) in Jurkat T cells showed that RAD001 significantly upregulated DR5 by up to 51.22%, but not other TRAIL-Rs such as DR4 (TRAIL-R1), decoy receptor (DcR) 1 (TRAIL-R3), and DcR2 (TRAIL-R4). Pretreatment with DR5:Fc chimera abrogated the RAD001-induced increase of TRAIL cytotoxicity, indicating that the upregulation of DR5 by RAD001 plays a role in enhancing the susceptibility of Jurkat T cells to TRAIL. Our results indicate that combination treatment with RAD001 and TRAIL may be a novel therapeutic strategy in leukemia.