Clin Cancer Res 2017 Nov 4;23(21):6529-6540. Epub 2017 Aug 4.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia.
A hallmark of neoplasia is increased ribosome biogenesis, and targeting this process with RNA polymerase I (Pol I) inhibitors has shown some efficacy. We examined the contribution and potential targeting of ribosomal machinery in chemotherapy-resistant and -sensitive models of ovarian cancer. Pol I machinery expression was examined, and subsequently targeted with the Pol I inhibitor CX-5461, in ovarian cancer cell lines, an immortalized surface epithelial line, and patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models with and without chemotherapy. Effects on viability, Pol I occupancy of rDNA, ribosomal content, and chemosensitivity were examined. In PDX models, ribosomal machinery components were increased in chemotherapy-treated tumors compared with controls. Thirteen cell lines were sensitive to CX-5461, with ICs 25 nmol/L-2 μmol/L. Interestingly, two chemoresistant lines were 10.5- and 5.5-fold more sensitive than parental lines. CX-5461 induced DNA damage checkpoint activation and G-M arrest with increased γH2AX staining. Chemoresistant cells had 2- to 4-fold increased rDNA Pol I occupancy and increased rRNA synthesis, despite having slower proliferation rates, whereas ribosome abundance and translational efficiency were not impaired. In five PDX models treated with CX-5461, one showed a complete response, one a 55% reduction in tumor volume, and one maintained stable disease for 45 days. Pol I inhibition with CX-5461 shows high activity in ovarian cancer cell lines and PDX models, with an enhanced effect on chemoresistant cells. Effects occur independent of proliferation rates or dormancy. This represents a novel therapeutic approach that may have preferential activity in chemoresistant populations. .