Redox biology

Disruption of thioredoxin metabolism enhances the toxicity of transforming growth factor β-activated kinase 1 (TAK1) inhibition in KRAS-mutated colon cancer cells.

PMID 26114584


Transforming growth factor β-activated kinase 1 (TAK1) is critical for survival of many KRAS mutated colorectal cancer cells, and TAK1 inhibition with 5Z-7-oxozeaenol has been associated with oxidative stress leading to tumor cell killing. When SW 620 and HCT 116 human colon cancer cells were treated with 5µM 5Z-7-oxozeaenol, cell viability, growth, and clonogenic survival were significantly decreased. Consistent with TAK1 inhibition being causally related to thiol-mediated oxidative stress, 10mM N-acetylcysteine (NAC) partially reversed the growth inhibitory effects of 5Z-7-oxozeaenol. In addition, 5Z-7-oxozeaenol also increased steady-state levels of H2DCFDA oxidation as well as increased levels of total glutathione (GSH) and glutathione disulfide (GSSG). Interestingly, depletion of GSH using buthionine sulfoximine did not significantly potentiate 5Z-7-oxozeaenol toxicity in either cell line. In contrast, pre-treatment of cells with auranofin (Au) to inhibit thioredoxin reductase activity significantly increased levels of oxidized thioredoxin as well as sensitized cells to 5Z-7-oxozeaenol-induced growth inhibition and clonogenic cell killing. These results were confirmed in SW 620 murine xenografts, where treatment with 5Z-7-oxozeaenol or with Au plus 5Z-7-oxozeaenol significantly inhibited growth, with Au plus 5Z-7-oxozeaenol trending toward greater growth inhibition compared to 5Z-7-oxozeaenol alone. These results support the hypothesis that thiol-mediated oxidative stress is causally related to TAK1-induced colon cancer cell killing. In addition, these results support the hypothesis that thioredoxin metabolism is a critical target for enhancing colon cancer cell killing via TAK1 inhibition and could represent an effective therapeutic strategy in patients with these highly resistant tumors.