Activated cAMP response element binding protein is overexpressed in human mesotheliomas and inhibits apoptosis

Am J Pathol. 2009 Nov;175(5):2197-206. doi: 10.2353/ajpath.2009.090400. Epub 2009 Oct 8.


Little is known about the cellular mechanisms contributing to the development and chemoresistance of malignant mesothelioma (MM), an aggressive asbestos-associated tumor. A human mesothelial cell line (LP9/TERT-1) and isolated human pleural mesothelial cells showed rapid and protracted asbestos-induced cAMP response element binding protein (CREB1) phosphorylation, which was inhibited in LP9/TERT-1 cells by small molecule inhibitors of epidermal growth factor receptor phosphorylation and protein kinase A. Asbestos increased expression of several CREB target genes (c-FOS, EGR-1, MKP1, BCL2, and MMP13) and apoptosis, which was enhanced using small interfering CREB. Human MM tissue arrays showed elevated endogenous levels of phosphorylated nuclear CREB1 as compared with reactive mesothelial hyperplasias and normal lung tissue. Significantly increased phosphorylated CREB1 and mRNA levels of BCL2, c-FOS, MMP9, and MMP13 were also observed in MM cells in vitro, which were further augmented after addition of Doxorubicin (Dox). Small interfering CREB inhibited migration of MMs, increased apoptosis by Dox, and decreased BCL2 and BCL-xL expression, suggesting a role for these molecules in CREB-induced MM survival. These data indicate that CREB1 and its target genes are up-regulated in asbestos-exposed human mesothelial cells through an epidermal growth factor receptor/protein kinase A pathway. Since activated CREB1 also is increased endogenously in human MM and modifies migration and resistance to Dox-induced apoptosis, inhibition of CREB1 may be a new strategy for MM therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / pharmacology
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Asbestos / pharmacology
  • Carcinogens / pharmacology
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein / genetics
  • Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein / metabolism*
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Doxorubicin / pharmacology
  • Epithelium / anatomy & histology
  • Epithelium / drug effects
  • ErbB Receptors / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mesothelioma / metabolism*
  • Mesothelioma / pathology
  • Microarray Analysis
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics
  • RNA, Small Interfering / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Carcinogens
  • Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Asbestos
  • Doxorubicin
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases