Mol Cancer Ther 2006 Nov;5(11):2737-46
Department of Immunology, School of Medicine, Keimyung University, 194 DongSan-Dong Jung-Gu, Taegu 700-712, South Korea.
Mithramycin A is a DNA-binding antitumor agent, which has been clinically used in the therapies of several types of cancer and Paget's disease. In this study, we investigated the combined effect of mithramycin A and tumor necrosis factor-alpha-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) on apoptosis of cancer cells. In Caki renal cancer cells, which are resistant to TRAIL, cotreatment with subtoxic doses of mithramycin A and TRAIL resulted in a marked increase in apoptosis. This combined treatment was also cytotoxic to Caki cells overexpressing Bcl-2 but not to normal mesengial cells. Moreover, apoptosis by the combined treatment with mithramycin A and TRAIL was dramatically induced in various cancer cell types, thus offering an attractive strategy for safely treating malignant tumors. Mithramycin A-stimulated TRAIL-induced apoptosis was blocked by pretreatment with the broad caspase inhibitor zVAD-fmk or Crm-A overexpression, showing its dependence on caspases. We found that mithramycin A selectively down-regulated XIAP protein levels in various cancer cells. Luciferase reporter assay and the chromatin immunoprecipitation assay using the XIAP promoter constructs show that mithramycin A down-regulates the transcription of XIAP gene through inhibition of Sp1 binding to its promoter. Although XIAP overexpression significantly attenuated apoptosis induced by mithramycin A plus TRAIL, suppression of XIAP expression by transfection with its small interfering RNA prominently enhanced TRAIL-induced apoptosis. We present here for the first time that mithramycin A-induced suppression of XIAP transcription plays a critical role in the recovery of TRAIL sensitivity in various cancer cells.