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Sabutoclax, pan-active BCL-2 protein family antagonist, overcomes drug resistance and eliminates cancer stem cells in breast cancer

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Title: Sabutoclax, pan-active BCL-2 protein family antagonist, overcomes drug resistance and eliminates cancer stem cells in breast cancer
Authors: Hu, Y
Yagüe, E
Zhao, J
Wang, L
Bai, J
Yang, Q
Pan, T
Zhao, H
Liu, J
Zhang, J
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Misregulation of BCL-2 family of proteins renders a survival signal to withstand cytotoxic anticancer drugs and is often found in drug resistant cells. The drug resistance phenotype is also associated with an enhancement of cancer stem cell-like (CSC) characteristics. Thus, inhibition of anti-apoptotic BCL-2 family proteins has been proposed as a possible antineoplastic strategy, and BCL-2 inhibitors are currently being clinically trailed in patients with leukemia, lymphoma or non-small cell lung cancer. However, the effects of BCL-2 inhibitors on drug resistant breast cancer have not yet been elucidated. In the present study, the effect of sabutoclax, a pan-active BCL-2 protein family antagonist, on two chemoresistant breast cancer cell lines was assessed. We found that sabutoclax showed a significant cytotoxic activity on chemoresistant breast cancer cells both in vitro and in vivo. When chemotherapeutic agents were combined with sabutoclax, strong synergistic antiproliferative effects were observed. Sabutoclax induced the blockage of BCL-2, MCL-1, BCL-xL and BFL-1, which in turn led to caspase-3/7 and caspase-9 activation and modulation of Bax, Bim, PUMA and survivin expression. Furthermore, sabutoclax effectively eliminated the CSC subpopulation and reduced sphere formation of drug-resistant cells through down-regulation of the IL-6/STAT3 signaling pathway. A similar effect was observed in a small panel of nine breast tumors ex vivo. Our findings indicate that sabutoclax partially overcomes the drug resistance phenotype of breast cancer cells by reactivation of apoptosis, mediated by the inhibition of several anti-apoptotic BCL-2 family proteins, and eliminates CSCs by abolition of the IL-6/STAT3 pathway. This offers a strong rationale to explore the therapeutic strategy of using sabutoclax alone or in combination for chemotherapy-nonresponsive breast cancer patients.
Issue Date: 26-Feb-2018
Date of Acceptance: 22-Feb-2018
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/58027
DOI: https://d.xdoi.org/10.1016/j.canlet.2018.02.036
ISSN: 0304-3835
Publisher: Elsevier
Start Page: 47
End Page: 59
Journal / Book Title: Cancer Letters
Volume: 423
Copyright Statement: © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. This manuscript is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Keywords: BCL-2
Breast cancer
Cancer stem cells
Drug resistance
1112 Oncology And Carcinogenesis
Oncology & Carcinogenesis
Publication Status: Published
Conference Place: Ireland
Appears in Collections:Department of Surgery and Cancer