Cancer Res 2011 May 11;71(10):3603-15. Epub 2011 Mar 11.
Gene Regulation Laboratory, Cancer Therapeutics Program, The Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute, East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
The concept of personalized anticancer therapy is based on the use of targeted therapeutics through in-depth knowledge of the molecular mechanisms of action of these agents when used alone and in combination. We have identified the apoptotic proteins and pathways necessary for synergistic tumor cell apoptosis and in vivo antitumor responses seen when the HDAC inhibitor vorinostat is combined with the BH3-mimetic ABT-737 in lymphomas overexpressing Bcl-2. Vorinostat "primes" tumors overexpressing Bcl-2 for rapid ABT-737-mediated apoptosis by inducing expression of the BH3-only gene bmf. Moreover, these synergistic effects of vorinostat/ABT-737 were blunted in cells with an inactive p53 pathway or in cells lacking expression of the p53 target gene, noxa. These studies show the important and complex functional interaction between specific proapoptotic BH3-only proteins and the BH3-mimetic compound ABT-737 and provide the most comprehensive functional link between tumor genotype and the apoptotic and therapeutic effects of HDACi combined with ABT-737.