Background: Disruption of apoptotic pathways may be involved in tumor formation, regression, and treatment resistance of neuroblastoma (NB). TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is a potent inducer of apoptosis in cancer cell lines.
Procedure: In this study we analyzed the expression and function of TRAIL, its agonistic and antagonistic receptors, and important intracellular signaling elements in 18 NB cell lines.
Results: Semiquantitative RT-PCR revealed that TRAIL-R2 and TRAIL-R3 are the main TRAIL-receptors used by NB cells. Sensitivity to TRAIL-induced apoptosis did not correlate with mRNA expression of TRAIL receptors or cFLIP. Surprisingly, caspase-8 and caspase-10 mRNA was detected in only 5 of 18 NB cell lines. Interestingly, only these five NB cell lines were susceptible to TRAIL-induced apoptosis in a time- and dose-dependent manner.
Conclusions: Treatment with 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine restored mRNA expression of caspase-8 and -10 and TRAIL sensitivity of resistant cell lines, suggesting that gene methylation is involved in caspase inactivation. Since many cytotoxic drugs induce caspase-dependent apoptosis, failure to express caspase-8 and/or caspase-10 might be an important mechanism of resistance to chemotherapy in NB.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.