British journal of cancer

Loss of Runx2 sensitises osteosarcoma to chemotherapy-induced apoptosis.

PMID 26528706


Osteosarcoma (OS) is the most common bone malignancy in the paediatric population, principally affecting adolescents and young adults. Minimal advancements in patient prognosis have been made over the past two decades because of the poor understanding of disease biology. Runx2, a critical transcription factor in bone development, is frequently amplified and overexpressed in OS. However, the molecular and biological consequences of Runx2 overexpression remain unclear. si/shRNA and overexpression technology to alter Runx2 levels in OS cells. In vitro assessment of doxorubicin (doxo)-induced apoptosis and in vivo chemosensitivity studies. Small-molecule inhibitor of c-Myc transcriptional activity was used to assess its role. Loss of Runx2 sensitises cells to doxo-induced apoptosis both in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, in conjunction with chemotherapy, decreasing Runx2 protein levels activates both the intrinsic and extrinsic apoptotic pathways. Transplanted tumour studies demonstrated that loss of endogenous Runx2 protein expression enhances caspase-3 cleavage and tumour necrosis in response to chemotherapy. Finally, upon doxo-treated Runx2 knockdown OS cells there was evidence of enhanced c-Myc expression and transcriptional activity. Inhibition of c-Myc under these conditions resulted in decreased activation of apoptosis, therefore insinuating a role for c-Myc in dox-induced activation of apoptotic pathways. Therefore, we have established a novel molecular mechanism by which Runx2 provides a chemoprotective role in OS, indicating that in conjunction to standard chemotherapy, targeting Runx2 may be a new therapeutic strategy for patients with OS.

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