Cytotoxic Efficacy and Resistance Mechanism of a TRAIL and VEGFA-Peptide Fusion Protein in Colorectal Cancer Models

Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Mar 19;22(6):3160. doi: 10.3390/ijms22063160.


TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is a type II transmembrane protein capable of selectively inducing apoptosis in cancer cells by binding to its cognate receptors. Here, we examined the anticancer efficacy of a recently developed chimeric AD-O51.4 protein, a TRAIL fused to the VEGFA-originating peptide. We tested AD-O51.4 protein activity against human colorectal cancer (CRC) models and investigated the resistance mechanism in the non-responsive CRC models. The quantitative comparison of apoptotic activity between AD-O51.4 and the native TRAIL in nine human colorectal cancer cell lines revealed dose-dependent toxicity in seven of them; the immunofluorescence-captured receptor abundance correlated with the extent of apoptosis. AD-O51.4 reduced the growth of CRC patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) with good efficacy. Cell lines that acquired AD-O51.4 resistance showed a significant decrease in surface TRAIL receptor expression and apoptosis-related proteins, including Caspase-8, HSP60, and p53. These results demonstrate the effectiveness of AD-O51.4 protein in CRC preclinical models and identify the potential mechanism underlying acquired resistance. Progression of AD-O51.4 to clinical trials is expected.

Keywords: PDX; TRAIL; apoptosis; colorectal cancer.