Cell Death Dis 2017 02 9;8(2):e2599. Epub 2017 Feb 9.
Department of Immunology, School of Medicine, Keimyung University, 2800 Dalgubeoldaero, Dalseo-Gu, Daegu 704-701, South Korea.
Carboplatin is a less toxic analog of cisplatin, but carboplatin also has side effects, including bone marrow suppression. Therefore, to improve the capacity of the anticancer activity of carboplatin, we investigated whether combined treatment with carboplatin and thioridazine, which has antipsychotic and anticancer activities, has a synergistic effect on apoptosis. Combined treatment with carboplatin and thioridazine markedly induced caspase-mediated apoptosis in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (AMC-HN4) cells. Combined treatment with carboplatin and thioridazine induced downregulation of Mcl-1 and c-FLIP expression. Ectopic expression of Mcl-1 and c-FLIP inhibited carboplatin plus thioridazine-induced apoptosis. We found that augmentation of proteasome activity had a critical role in downregulation of Mcl-1 and c-FLIP expression at the post-translational level in carboplatin plus thioridazine-treated cells. Furthermore, carboplatin plus thioridazine induced upregulation of the expression of proteasome subunit alpha 5 (PSMA5) through mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS)-dependent nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) activation. In addition, combined treatment with carboplatin and thioridazine markedly induced apoptosis in human breast carcinoma (MDA-MB231) and glioma (U87MG) cells, but not in human normal mesangial cells and normal human umbilical vein cells (EA.hy926). Collectively, our study demonstrates that combined treatment with carboplatin and thioridazine induces apoptosis through proteasomal degradation of Mcl-1 and c-FLIP by upregulation of Nrf2-dependent PSMA5 expression.