Research Papers:

Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 enhances radioresistance and aggressiveness of non-small cell lung cancer cells

JiHoon Kang, Wanyeon Kim, TaeWoo Kwon, HyeSook Youn, Joong Sun Kim and BuHyun Youn _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:23961-23974. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.8208

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JiHoon Kang1,*, Wanyeon Kim2,3,*, TaeWoo Kwon1,*, HyeSook Youn4, Joong Sun Kim5, BuHyun Youn1,2,3

1Department of Integrated Biological Science, Pusan National University, Busan, 46241, Republic of Korea

2Department of Biological Sciences, Pusan National University, Busan 46241, Republic of Korea

3Nuclear Science Research Institute, Pusan National University, Busan 46241, Republic of Korea

4Department of Integrative Bioscience and Biotechnology, Sejong University, Seoul 05006, Republic of Korea

5Research Center, Dongnam Institute of Radiological and Medical Sciences, Busan 46033, Republic of Korea

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

BuHyun Youn, e-mail: bhyoun72@pusan.ac.kr

Keywords: PAI-1, NSCLC, paracrine, radioresistance, EMT

Received: October 05, 2015     Accepted: March 04, 2016     Published: March 19, 2016


Acquired resistance of tumor cells during treatment limits the clinical efficacy of radiotherapy. Recent studies to investigate acquired resistance under treatment have focused on intercellular communication because it promotes survival and aggressiveness of tumor cells, causing therapy failure and tumor relapse. Accordingly, a better understanding of the functional communication between subpopulations of cells within a tumor is essential to development of effective cancer treatment strategies. Here, we found that conditioned media (CM) from radioresistant non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells increased survival of radiosensitive cells. Comparative proteomics analysis revealed plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) as a key molecule in the secretome that acts as an extracellular signaling trigger to strengthen resistance to radiation. Our results revealed that expression and secretion of PAI-1 in radioresistant cells was increased by radiation-induced transcription factors, including p53, HIF-1α, and Smad3. When CM from radioresistant cells was applied to radiosensitive cells, extracellular PAI-1 activated the AKT and ERK1/2 signaling pathway and inhibited caspase-3 activity. Our study also proposed that PAI-1 activates the signaling pathway in radiosensitive cells via extracellular interaction with its binding partners, not clathrin-mediated endocytosis. Furthermore, secreted PAI-1 increased cell migration capacity and expression of EMT markers in vitro and in vivo. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that PAI-1 secreted from radioresistant NSCLC cells reduced radiosensitivity of nearby cells in a paracrine manner, indicating that functional inhibition of PAI-1 signaling has therapeutic potential because it prevents sensitive cells from acquiring radioresistance.

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