Anticancer agents sensitize osteosarcoma cells to TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand downmodulating IAP family proteins

Int J Oncol. 2006 Jan;28(1):127-33.


Although TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) usually induces cell death in tumor cells, there are some tumor cell types that are resistant to its apoptogenic effects. Some chemotherapeutic drugs, however, can sensitize resistant cancer cells to TRAIL by either upregulating surface TRAIL death receptor expression or by modulating intracellular signalling pathways emanating from TRAIL receptors. U2OS human osteosarcoma cells express TRAIL-R2 but are resistant to TRAIL-induced apoptosis. however, the genotoxic drugs, Doxorubicin and Cisplatin, are able to sensitize U2OS cells to TRAIL, without affecting their surface expression of either death or decoy TRAIL receptors. We demonstrate that Doxorubicin and Cisplatin downmodulate X-IAP, while not affecting FLIP levels in U2OS cells. Selective downmodulation of X-IAP protein synthesis by specific small interference RNA transfection induced a sensitization of U2OS cells to TRAIL comparable to that induced by pharmacological treatment with genotoxic drugs. TRAIL-R2 downmodulation by siRNAs completely abolished the TRAIL-induced apoptosis of genotoxin-treated U2OS cells. Our findings demonstrate that Doxorubicin and Cisplatin do not sensitize U2OS osteosarcoma cells to TRAIL by surface receptor modulation but rather by the removal of the intracellular signalling inhibition generated by X-IAP, suggesting a foreseeable relevant advantage to the therapy of these tumors by the combined regimen of genotoxin-based chemotherapy and TRAIL.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins / physiology*
  • Bone Neoplasms / genetics
  • Bone Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cisplatin / pharmacology*
  • Down-Regulation
  • Doxorubicin / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / physiology*
  • Osteosarcoma / genetics
  • Osteosarcoma / pathology*
  • Signal Transduction
  • TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / physiology*
  • X-Linked Inhibitor of Apoptosis Protein / biosynthesis
  • X-Linked Inhibitor of Apoptosis Protein / physiology


  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand
  • TNFSF10 protein, human
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • X-Linked Inhibitor of Apoptosis Protein
  • Doxorubicin
  • Cisplatin