Research Papers:

The HDAC inhibitor AR42 interacts with pazopanib to kill trametinib/dabrafenib-resistant melanoma cells in vitro and in vivo

Laurence Booth, Jane L. Roberts, Cindy Sander, John Lee, John M. Kirkwood, Andrew Poklepovic and Paul Dent _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:16367-16386. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.14829

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Laurence Booth1, Jane L. Roberts1, Cindy Sander3, John Lee4, John M. Kirkwood3, Andrew Poklepovic2, Paul Dent1

1Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23298-0035, USA

2Department of Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23298-0035, USA

3University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute Melanoma and Skin Cancer Program, Hillman Cancer Research Pavilion Laboratory L1.32c, Pittsburgh PA 15232, USA

4Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine, Culver City, CA 90232, USA

Correspondence to:

Paul Dent, email: [email protected]

Keywords: autophagy, chaperone, death receptor, ER stress

Received: December 20, 2016     Accepted: January 19, 2017     Published: January 27, 2017


Studies focused on the killing of activated B-RAF melanoma cells by the histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor AR42. Compared to other tumor cell lines, PDX melanoma isolates were significantly more sensitive to AR42-induced killing. AR42 and the multi-kinase inhibitor pazopanib interacted to activate: an eIF2α–Beclin1 pathway causing autophagosome formation; an eIF2α–DR4/DR5/CD95 pathway; and an eIF2α-dependent reduction in the expression of c-FLIP-s, MCL-1 and BCL-XL. AR42 did not alter basal chaperone activity but increased the ability of pazopanib to inhibit HSP90, HSP70 and GRP78. AR42 and pazopanib caused HSP90/HSP70 dissociation from RAF-1 and B-RAF that resulted in reduced ‘RAF’ expression. The drug combination activated a DNA-damage-ATM-AMPK pathway that was associated with: NFκB activation; reduced mTOR S2448 and ULK-1 S757 phosphorylation; and increased ULK-1 S317 and ATG13 S318 phosphorylation. Knock down of PERK, eIF2α, Beclin1, ATG5 or AMPKα, or expression of IκB S32A S36A, ca-mTOR or TRX, reduced cell killing. AR42, via lysosomal degradation, reduced the protein expression of HDACs 2/5/6/10/11. In vivo, a 3-day exposure of dabrafenib/trametinib resistant melanoma cells to the AR42 pazopanib combination reduced tumor growth and enhanced survival from ~25 to ~40 days. Tumor cells that had adapted through therapy exhibited elevated HGF expression and the c-MET inhibitor crizotinib enhanced AR42 pazopanib lethality in this evolved drug-resistant population.

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