Downregulation of Bcl-2 sensitises interferon-resistant renal cancer cells to Fas
Carcinoma, Renal Cell
Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
Interferon alpha (IFNalpha) is used to treat patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) despite limited clinical benefit. IFNalpha can induce Fas receptor-mediated apoptosis by direct activation of pro-caspase-8 followed by activation of caspase-3. Alternative, indirect activation of caspase-3 via mitochondrial release of cytochrome c can occur and may explain the rescue from Fas-activated cell death by the antiapoptotic members of the Bcl-2 family. In this study, we examined G3139, a novel antisense compound targeting Bcl-2, in combination with IFNalpha. Human RCC lines (SK-RC-44 and SK-RC-07) were treated with IFNalpha, G3139 or a combination of the two. Fas-mediated cytotoxicity was induced by anti-Fas mAb, CH11. An analysis of Bcl-2, Fas and the cleavage of PARP was performed. IFNalpha induced Fas and Bcl-2 in SK-RC-44 and SK-RC-07. IFNalpha sensitised SK-RC-44 to anti-Fas and induced PARP cleavage confirming that IFNalpha has a cytotoxic effect on RCC lines by induction of the Fas antigen. Cytotoxicity was not evident in SK-RC-07 cells treated with IFNalpha. G3139 induced a specific downregulation of Bcl-2 in SK-RC-07 cells, which were then sensitised to anti-Fas after treatment with IFNalpha. Taken together, these results suggest that Fas-dependent pathways as well as alternative pathways, which can be inhibited by Bcl-2, exist in renal cell carcinoma. G3139 in combination with IFNalpha is a potential therapy in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma.