Homozygous deletion of the death receptor DR4 gene in a nasopharyngeal cancer cell line is associated with TRAIL resistance

Int J Oncol. 2000 May;16(5):917-25. doi: 10.3892/ijo.16.5.917.


The family of tumor necrosis factor related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL) receptors, including the pro-apoptotic DR4 and p53-regulated KILLER/DR5, as well as the decoys TRID and TRUNDD, are all located on human chromosome 8p21-22. This region of the genome is frequently altered in head and neck cancer. We previously reported that KILLER/DR5 can be mutationally inactivated in head and neck cancer. Here, we report that the FaDu nasopharyngeal cancer cell line contains an abnormal chromosome 8p21-22 region. In addition, there appears to be a homozygous deletion involving DR4 but not KILLER/DR5 in FaDu cells. The homozygous loss within the DR4 gene encompasses its death domain, which is required for apoptotic signaling. The deletion of DR4 in FaDu cells is associated with resistance to the cytotoxic effects of TRAIL. Re-introduction of wild-type DR4 leads to apoptosis and restores TRAIL sensitivity of FaDu cells. These observations suggest that the death inducing DR4 receptor gene may be a rare target for inactivation in human cancer and that DR4 loss may contribute to resistance to TRAIL therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 8
  • Gene Deletion*
  • Humans
  • Loss of Heterozygosity
  • Microsatellite Repeats
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Receptors, TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / genetics*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Receptors, TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • TNFRSF10A protein, human