Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide, urging the discovery of novel molecular targets and therapeutic strategies. Stem cells have been recently isolated from non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), thus allowing the investigation of molecular pathways specifically active in the tumorigenic population. We have found that Bcl-XL is constantly expressed by lung cancer stem cells (LCSCs) and has a prominent role in regulating LCSC survival. Whereas chemotherapeutic agents were scarcely effective against LCSC, the small molecule Bcl-2/Bcl-XL inhibitor ABT-737, but not the selective Bcl-2 inhibitor ABT-199, induced LCSC death at nanomolar concentrations. Differently from gemcitabine, which preferentially eliminated proliferating LCSC, ABT-737 had an increased cytotoxic activity in vitro towards quiescent/slow-proliferating LCSC, which expressed high levels of Bcl-XL. In vivo, ABT-737 as a single agent was able to inhibit the growth of LCSC-derived xenografts and to reduce cancer stem cell content in treated tumors. Altogether, these results indicate that quiescent/slow-proliferating LCSC strongly depend on Bcl-XL for their survival and indicate Bcl-XL inhibition as a potential therapeutic avenue in NSCLC.
|Numero di pagine||13|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Pubblicato - 2016|