Oncology letters

Bcl-2/Bcl-xL inhibitor ABT-737 sensitizes pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma to paclitaxel-induced cell death.

PMID 28693250


Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is an aggressive malignant disease that is resistant to various chemotherapeutic agents and commonly relapses. Efficient elimination of metastasized PDA is critical for a positive post-surgical treatment outcome. The present study analyzed the effect of the B-cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2)/B-cell lymphoma extra-large (Bcl-xL) inhibitor, ABT-737, on paclitaxel-induced PDA cell death. A total of 8 PDA cell lines were subjected to immunoblotting to compare the expression of Bcl-2/Bcl-xL and other factors associated with taxane resistance, including myeloid cell leukemia 1 and βIII-tubulin (TUBB3). The viability of PDA cells was analyzed following treatment with paclitaxel alone or a combination treatment with ABT-737 and paclitaxel. Treatment with the ABT-737/paclitaxel combination induced PDA cell death at a lower concentration of paclitaxel compared with paclitaxel alone. In addition, the viable cell population at the saturation point of paclitaxel was also decreased by co-treatment with ABT-737. ABT-737 lowered the half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) by >2-fold in PDA cells with high Bcl-2/Bcl-xL expression, but not in PDA cells with low Bcl-2/Bcl-xL expression and high TUBB3 expression. Knockdown of Bcl-xL lowered the IC50 of paclitaxel, but knockdown of TUBB3 did not. ABT-737 sensitized PDA to paclitaxel-induced cell death, and Bcl-xL expression was a key determinant of its sensitivity. ABT-737 is potential candidate for combination chemotherapy of PDA with high Bcl-xL expression levels.