The main treatment for chondrosarcoma is surgical resection with a wide margin. However, there are certain chondrosarcomas, such as those found in the pelvis and the spine, which cannot be resected adequately with surgery alone. Unfortunately, most chondrosarcomas are resistant to radiation and chemotherapy. Radiation and chemotherapy are thought to kill chondrosarcoma cells by inducing apoptosis, or programmed cell death. In this article, we hypothesize that antiapoptotic gene silencing enhances radiosensitivity in chondrosarcoma cells by facilitating apoptotic pathways. We knocked down antiapoptotic genes in chondrosarcoma cells using small interfering RNAs (siRNAs). Two well-established Grade II human chondrosarcoma cell lines were pretreated with siRNAs that specifically target mRNAs for Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, or XIAP. The cells were then treated with radiation. Cell death was assessed by flow cytometry. Cell survival and proliferation were measured by clonogenic survival assays. Chondrosarcoma cells exhibited radioresistance and increased the expression of Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, and XIAP in response to radiation. When one of the Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, or XIAP genes was silenced with the corresponding siRNA, radiosensitivity increased up to 9.2-fold (p < 0.05). When two out of the three antiapoptotic mRNAs were knocked down simultaneously, there was an 11.3-fold increase in cell death after radiation (p < 0.05). Our findings support a novel therapeutic concept that gene silencing may be used as a molecular adjuvant therapy for radioresistant sarcomas.
(c) 2007 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.