The relationship of thioredoxin-1 and cisplatin resistance: its impact on ROS and oxidative metabolism in lung cancer cells

Mol Cancer Ther. 2012 Mar;11(3):604-15. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-11-0599. Epub 2012 Jan 16.


Elimination of cisplatin-resistant lung cancer cells remains a major obstacle. We have shown that cisplatin-resistant tumors have higher reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels and can be exploited for targeted therapy. Here, we show that increased secretion of the antioxidant thioredoxin-1 (TRX1) resulted in lowered intracellular TRX1 and contributed to higher ROS in cisplatin-resistant tumors in vivo and in vitro. By reconstituting TRX1 protein in cisplatin-resistant cells, we increased sensitivity to cisplatin but decreased sensitivity to elesclomol (ROS inducer). Conversely, decreased TRX1 protein in parental cells reduced the sensitivity to cisplatin but increased sensitivity to elesclomol. Cisplatin-resistant cells had increased endogenous oxygen consumption and mitochondrial activity but decreased lactic acid production. They also exhibited higher levels of argininosuccinate synthetase (ASS) and fumarase mRNA, which contributed to oxidative metabolism (OXMET) when compared with parental cells. Restoring intracellular TRX1 protein in cisplatin-resistant cells resulted in lowering ASS and fumarase mRNAs, which in turn sensitized them to arginine deprivation. Interestingly, cisplatin-resistant cells also had significantly higher basal levels of acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) and fatty acid synthase (FAS). Overexpressing TRX1 lowered ACC and FAS proteins expressions in cisplatin-resistant cells. Chemical inhibition and short interfering RNA of ACC resulted in significant cell death in cisplatin-resistant compared with parental cells. Conversely, TRX1 overexpressed cisplatin-resistant cells resisted 5-(tetradecyloxy)-2-furoic acid (TOFA)-induced death. Collectively, lowering TRX1 expression through increased secretion leads cisplatin-resistant cells to higher ROS production and increased dependency on OXMET. These changes raise an intriguing therapeutic potential for future therapy in cisplatin-resistant lung cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase / genetics
  • Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase / metabolism
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Argininosuccinate Synthase / genetics
  • Argininosuccinate Synthase / metabolism
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / genetics
  • Cisplatin / pharmacology*
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / drug effects*
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Fatty Acid Synthases / genetics
  • Fatty Acid Synthases / metabolism
  • Fumarate Hydratase / genetics
  • Fumarate Hydratase / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Membrane Potential, Mitochondrial / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / physiology
  • Oxygen Consumption / drug effects
  • RNA Interference
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Thioredoxins / genetics
  • Thioredoxins / metabolism*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • TXN protein, human
  • Thioredoxins
  • Fatty Acid Synthases
  • Fumarate Hydratase
  • Argininosuccinate Synthase
  • Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase
  • Cisplatin