Inducible resistance of tumor cells to tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand receptor 2-mediated apoptosis by generation of a blockade at the death domain function

Academic Article


  • Induction of tumor cell resistance to therapeutics has been a major obstacle in cancer therapy. Targeting of the death receptors by a natural ligand, tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL), or agonistic monoclonal antibodies against TRAIL receptor 1 (TRAIL-R1) or TRAIL receptor 2 (TRAIL-R2) has been thought to be a promising cancer therapy. To determine whether tumor cells are able to generate a resistance to apoptosis induced by an anti-TRAIL-R2 antibody, TRA-8, we examined the apoptotic response of human breast and ovarian cancer cell lines after treatment with TRA-8. Our results show that tumor cell resistance to TRA-8 can be induced by repeated treatment of tumor cells with low, non-apoptosis-inducing doses of TRA-8. Interestingly, the induced resistance to apoptosis was not due to a global apoptotic defect in tumor cells but rather a selective defect in the TRAIL-R2 signaling pathway. Whereas TRA-8-treated tumor cells developed a selective resistance to TRAIL-R2-mediated apoptosis, the apoptotic responses induced by TRAIL, an anti-TRAIL-R1 antibody (2E12), and other apoptotic stimuli were not impaired. The expression levels of cell surface TRAIL-R2 were not altered and mutations of TRAIL-R2 were not found in the resistant cells. The induced TRA-8 resistance was due to a selective blockade at the level of the death domain and could be reversed by a wide array of chemotherapeutic agents. Proteomic analysis of death-inducing signaling complex formation during TRA-8 treatment shows that the translocation of TRAIL-R2-associated apoptotic proteins was significantly altered. Our results suggest that the prevention of tumor cell resistance to therapeutic agents that target the death receptors must be taken into consideration. ©2006 American Association for Cancer Research.
  • Published In

  • Cancer Research  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Li Y; Wang H; Wang Z; Makhija S; Buchsbaum D; LoBuglio A; Kimberly R; Zhou T
  • Start Page

  • 8520
  • End Page

  • 8528
  • Volume

  • 66
  • Issue

  • 17