Research Papers:

PSMD4 is a novel therapeutic target in chemoresistant colorectal cancer activated by cytoplasmic localization of Nrf2

Ya-Min Cheng, Po-Lin Lin, De-Wei Wu, Lee Wang, Chi-Chou Huang and Huei Lee _

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:26342-26352. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.25254

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Ya-Min Cheng1,*, Po-Lin Lin2,*, De-Wei Wu2, Lee Wang3, Chi-Chou Huang4 and Huei Lee2

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, National Cheng Kung University Hospital, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan

2Graduate Institute of Cancer Biology and Drug Discovery, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan

3Department of Public Health, Chung Shan Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan

4Department of Surgery, Chung Shan Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Huei Lee, email: [email protected]

Keywords: PSMD4; chemoresistance; Nrf2; colorectal cancer

Received: July 11, 2017    Accepted: April 05, 2018    Published: May 29, 2018


Nuclear Nrf2 (nNrf2) binding to the antioxidant response element may promote chemoresistance in colorectal cancer. However, the shuttling of Nrf2 between cytoplasm and nucleus in colon cancer cells has revealed the possibility that cytoplasmic location of Nrf2 (cNrf2) may play a specific role in chemoresistance. Transfection of a nuclear location sequence (NLS)-wild-type or NLS–mutated Nrf2 expression vector into a stable shNrf2 HCT116 clone using the MTT assay to examine whether chemoresistance induced by cNrf2 may be greater than nNrf2. Different specific inhibitors and small hairpin (sh)RNAs of targeting genes were used to verify the mechanistic action of cNrf2 in chemoresistance and further confirmed by an animal model. The association of cNrf2 with chemotherapeutic response in patients with colorectal cancer was statistically analyzed. The MTT assay indicated that cNrf2 may play a more important role than nNrf2 in conferring 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and oxaliplatin resistance in HCT116 cells. Mechanistically, cNrf2-induced PSMD4 expression was responsible for chemoresistance in the NLS-mutated Nrf2-tranfected shNrf2HCT116 clone via the NF-κB/AKT/β-catenin/ZEB1 cascades. The tumor burden induced by the NLS-mutated Nrf2-transfected shNrf2HCT116 clone was completely suppressed by treatment with 5-FU in combination with carfilzomib. A higher prevalence of unfavorable chemotherapeutic response in colorectal cancer patients with cNrf2, PSMD4-positive, p-p65-positive, and nuclear β-catenin tumors was observed when compared to their counterparts. cNrf2 may play a more important role than nNrf2 in the chemoresistance of colorectal cancer. Activation of the NF-κB/AKT/β-catenin/ZEB1 cascade by PSMD4 may be responsible for cNrf2-mediated chemoresistance.

Condensed abstract: CNrf2 may play a more important role than nNrf2 in conferring 5-FU and oxaliplatin resistance. This observation in patients seemed to support the findings of the cell and animal models and suggested that PSMD4 may be responsible cNrf2-mediated chemoresistance via the NF-κB/AKT/β-catenin /ZEB1 cascades.

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