Research Papers:

Induction of MAPK- and ROS-dependent autophagy and apoptosis in gastric carcinoma by combination of romidepsin and bortezomib

Kwai Fung Hui, Po Ling Yeung and Alan K.S. Chiang _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:4454-4467. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.6601

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Kwai Fung Hui1, Po Ling Yeung1, Alan K.S. Chiang1

1Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital, Pokfulam, Hong Kong, SAR, China

Correspondence to:

Alan KS Chiang, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: bortezomib, romidepsin, gastric carcinoma, apoptosis, autophagy

Received: September 01, 2015     Accepted: November 28, 2015     Published: December 14, 2015


Proteasome inhibitors and histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors can synergistically induce apoptotic cell death in certain cancer cell types but their combinatorial effect on the induction of autophagy remains unknown. Here, we investigated the combinatorial effects of a proteasome inhibitor, bortezomib, and an HDAC inhibitor, romidepsin, on the induction of apoptotic and autophagic cell death in gastric carcinoma (GC) cells. Isobologram analysis showed that low nanomolar concentrations of bortezomib/romidepsin could synergistically induce killing of GC cells. The synergistic killing was due to the summative effect of caspase-dependent intrinsic apoptosis and caspase-independent autophagy. The autophagic cell death was dependent on the activation of MAPK family members (ERK1/2 and JNK), and generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), but was independent of Epstein-Barr virus infection. In vivo, bortezomib/romidepsin also significantly induced apoptosis and autophagy in GC xenografts in nude mice. This is the first report demonstrating the potent effect of combination of HDAC and proteasome inhibitors on the induction of MAPK- and ROS-dependent autophagy in addition to caspase-dependent apoptosis in a cancer type.

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