Mechanism of IFN-induced apoptosis and sensitization by the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib in bladder cancer cells

Paraskevi Angeliki Papageorgiou, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Bladder cancer is the fifth most common cancer with more than 50,000 cases diagnosed each year. Interferon-α (IFNα) is mostly used in combination with BCG for the treatment of transitional cell carcinoma (TCC). To examine the effects of IFNα on bladder cancer cells, I analyzed a panel of 20 bladder cancer cell lines in terms of their sensitivity to IFNα-induced apoptosis and the underlying mechanisms. I identified three categories: cells that die after 48hr, after 72h, and cells resistant even after 72hr of IFNα treatment. Examination of the IFN-signal transduction pathway revealed that the defect was not due to abrogation of IFN signaling. Further analysis demonstrated dependency of IFN-induced apoptosis on caspase-8, implicating the role of death receptors in IFN-induced cell death. Of the six most-IFN-sensitive cell lines, the majority upregulated Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) at the mRNA and protein level and IFN-induced cell death was mediated through TRAIL, while a minority of the most IFN-sensitive cells undergo apoptosis through a TNFα-dependent mechanism. IFNα resistance was due to either absence of TRAIL upregulation at the mRNA or protein level, resistance to exogenous rhTRAIL itself or lack of sensitization to IFN-induced cell death. Downregulation of XIAP, or XIAP inactivation through its regulator NFκB has been reported to sensitize tumor cells to death receptor-induced cell death. Baseline and IFN-inducible XIAP levels were examined in the most and least IFN-sensitive cells, knocking down XIAP and the p65 subunit of NFκB enhanced IFN-induced cell death, implicating XIAP downregulation as a mechanism through which bladder cancer cells are sensitized to IFN-induced apoptosis. To determine whether or not the proteasome inhibitor Bortezomib (BZ) sensitizes bladder cancer cells to IFN-induced cell death, the combined effects of IFN+BZ and the underlying molecular mechanisms were examined both in vitro and in vivo using two bladder xenograft models. In both models, tumor growth inhibition was the result of either increased cell death of tumor cells exerted by the two agents and/or inhibition of angiogenesis. In vitro, MAP downregulation in response to the combined treatment of IFN+BZ accounts for one of the mechanisms mediating IFN+BZ cell death in bladder cancer cells.

Subject Area

Cellular biology|Molecular biology

Recommended Citation

Papageorgiou, Paraskevi Angeliki, "Mechanism of IFN-induced apoptosis and sensitization by the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib in bladder cancer cells" (2006). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3218717.