The inhibition of BRAF activity sensitizes chemoresistant human ovarian cancer cells to paclitaxel-induced cytotoxicity and tumor growth inhibition

Zhao, L.; Huang, L.; Zhang, J.; Fan, J.; He, F.; Zhao, X.; Wang, H.; Liu, Q.; Shi, D.; Ni, N.; Wagstaff, W.; Pakvasa, M.; Fu, K.; B, Tucker A.; Chen, C.; Reid, R.R.; Haydon, R.C.; Luu, H.H.; Shen, L.; Qi, H. ✉; He, T.-C. ✉

English Scientific Article (Journal Article)
Published: AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TRANSLATIONAL RESEARCH 1943-8141 12 (12) pp. 8084-8098 2021
  • SJR Scopus - Clinical Biochemistry: Q1
Ovarian cancer is one of the most common cancers in women and the second most common cause of gynecologic cancer death in women worldwide. While ovarian cancer is highly heterogeneous in histological subtypes and molecular genetic makeup, epithelial ovarian cancer is the most common subtype. The clinical outcomes of ovarian cancer largely depend on early detection and access to appropriate surgery and systemic therapy. While combination therapy with platinum-based drugs and paclitaxel (PTX) remains the first-line systemic therapy for ovarian cancer, many patients experience recurrence and die of progressive chemoresistance. Thus, there is an unmet clinical need to overcome recurrent disease due to resistance to chemotherapies of ovarian cancer. Here, we investigated whether BRAF inhibitors (BRAFi) could sensitize PTX-resistant ovarian cancer cells to PTX, and thus would overcome the resistance to chemotherapies. We found that BRAF and several members of the RAS/MAPK pathways were upregulated upon PTX treatment in ovarian cancer cells, and that BRAF expression was significantly elevated in the PTX-resistant ovarian cancer cells. While the BRAFi vemurafenib (VEM) alone did not cause any significant cytotoxicity in PTX-resistant ovarian cancer cells, VEM significantly enhanced PTX-induced growth inhibition and apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, VEM and PTX were shown to synergistically inhibit tumor growth and cell proliferation of PTX-resistant human ovarian cancer cells in vivo. Collectively, these findings strongly suggest that BRAFi may be exploited as synergistic sensitizers of paclitaxel in treating chemoresistant ovarian cancer. © 2020 E-Century Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.
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2021-06-16 10:43