Targeting Dormant Ovarian Cancer Cells In Vitro and in an In Vivo Mouse Model of Platinum Resistance.
Spheroids exhibit drug resistance and slow proliferation, suggesting involvement in cancer recurrence. The protein kinase C inhibitor UCN-01 (7-hydroxystaurosporine) has shown higher efficacy against slow proliferating and/or quiescent ovarian cancer cells. In this study, tumorigenic potential was assessed using anchorage-independent growth assays and spheroid-forming capacity, which was determined with ovarian cancer cell lines as well as primary ovarian cancers. Of 12 cell lines with increased anchorage-independent growth, 8 formed spheroids under serum-free culture conditions. Spheroids showed reduced proliferation (P < 0.0001) and Ki-67 immunostaining (8% vs. 87%) relative to monolayer cells. Spheroid formation was associated with increased expression of mitochondrial pathway genes (P ≤ 0.001) from Affymetrix HT U133A gene expression data. UCN-01, a kinase inhibitor/mitochondrial uncoupler that has been shown to lead to Puma-induced mitochondrial apoptosis as well as ATP synthase inhibitor oligomycin, demonstrated effectiveness against spheroids, whereas spheroids were refractory to cisplatin and paclitaxel. By live in vivo imaging, ovarian cancer xenograft tumors were reduced after primary treatment with carboplatin. Continued treatment with carboplatin was accompanied by an increase in tumor signal, whereas there was little or no increase in tumor signal observed with subsequent treatment with UCN-01 or oltipraz. Taken together, our findings suggest that genes involved in mitochondrial function in spheroids may be an important therapeutic target in preventing disease recurrence.
Huang, Z; Kondoh, E; Visco, ZR; Baba, T; Matsumura, N; Dolan, E; Whitaker, RS; Konishi, I; Fujii, S; Berchuck, A; Murphy, SK
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