Calmodulin antagonists promote TRA-8 therapy of resistant pancreatic cancer

Academic Article


  • Pancreatic cancer is highly malignant with limited therapy and a poor prognosis. TRAIL-activating therapy has been promising, however, clinical trials have shown resistance and limited responses of pancreatic cancers. We investigated the effects of calmodulin(CaM) antagonists, trifluoperazine(TFP) and tamoxifen(TMX), on TRA- 8-induced apoptosis and tumorigenesis of TRA-8-resistant pancreatic cancer cells, and underlying mechanisms. TFP or TMX alone did not induce apoptosis of resistant PANC-1 cells, while they dose-dependently enhanced TRA-8-induced apoptosis. TMX treatment enhanced efficacy of TRA-8 therapy on tumorigenesis in vivo. Analysis of TRA-8-induced death-inducing-signaling-complex (DISC) identified recruitment of survival signals, CaM/Src, into DR5-associated DISC, which was inhibited by TMX/ TFP. In contrast, TMX/TFP increased TRA-8-induced DISC recruitment/activation of caspase-8. Consistently, caspase-8 inhibition blocked the effects of TFP/TMX on TRA-8-induced apoptosis. Moreover, TFP/TMX induced DR5 expression. With a series of deletion/point mutants, we identified CaM antagonist-responsive region in the putative Sp1-binding domain between -295 to -300 base pairs of DR5 gene. Altogether, we have demonstrated that CaM antagonists enhance TRA-8-induced apoptosis of TRA-8-resistant pancreatic cancer cells by increasing DR5 expression and enhancing recruitment of apoptotic signal while decreasing survival signals in DR5-associated DISC. Our studies support the use of these readily available CaM antagonists combined with TRAIL-activating agents for pancreatic cancer therapy.
  • Published In

  • Oncotarget  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Yuan K; Yong S; Xu F; Zhou T; McDonald JM; Chen Y
  • Start Page

  • 25308
  • End Page

  • 25319
  • Volume

  • 6
  • Issue

  • 28