Cancer research

Connexin 43 Inhibition Sensitizes Chemoresistant Glioblastoma Cells to Temozolomide.

PMID 26542214


Resistance of glioblastoma (GBM) to the front-line chemotherapeutic agent temozolomide (TMZ) continues to challenge GBM treatment efforts. The repair of TMZ-induced DNA damage by O-6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) confers one mechanism of TMZ resistance. Paradoxically, MGMT-deficient GBM patients survive longer despite still developing resistance to TMZ. Recent studies indicate that the gap junction protein connexin 43 (Cx43) renders GBM cells resistant to TMZ through its carboxyl terminus (CT). In this study, we report insights into how Cx43 promotes TMZ resistance. Cx43 levels were inversely correlated with TMZ sensitivity of GBM cells, including GBM stem cells. Moreover, Cx43 levels inversely correlated with patient survival, including as observed in MGMT-deficient GBM patients. Addition of the C-terminal peptide mimetic αCT1, a selective inhibitor of Cx43 channels, sensitized human MGMT-deficient and TMZ-resistant GBM cells to TMZ treatment. Moreover, combining αCT1 with TMZ-blocked AKT/mTOR signaling, induced autophagy and apoptosis in TMZ-resistant GBM cells. Our findings suggest that Cx43 may offer a biomarker to predict the survival of patients with MGMT-independent TMZ resistance and that combining a Cx43 inhibitor with TMZ could enhance therapeutic responses in GBM, and perhaps other TMZ-resistant cancers.