In many tumors, including prostate cancer, anti-apoptotic members of the Bcl-2 family are overexpressed and cause cell death resistance, which is a typical hallmark of cancer. Different therapeutic approaches, therefore, aim to restore the death mechanisms for enhanced apoptosis. Our recombinant immunotoxin D7(VL-VH)-PE40 is composed of the scFv D7(VL-VH) against the prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) on the surface of prostate cancer cells and of the cytotoxic domain of the bacterial toxin Pseudomonas Exotoxin A (PE40). Since Pseudomonas Exotoxin A-based immunotoxins are known to preferentially inhibit the expression of the anti-apoptotic protein Mcl-1, the rationale was to test our immunotoxin in combination with the BH3 mimetic ABT-737, which specifically inhibits Bcl-2, Bcl-xl, and Bcl-w for enhanced induction of apoptosis in prostate cancer cells. The immunotoxin showed high and specific binding and cytotoxicity against PSMA expressing prostate cancer cells marked by a direct inhibition of Mcl-1. The combination of the immunotoxin with a subtoxic concentration of ABT-737 caused additive or even synergistic effects, which were based on an enhanced apoptosis induction as detected by poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) and Caspase-3 cleavage in Western blot. Our study shows that the combination therapy of immunotoxin plus ABT-737 is a promising approach for the future treatment of advanced prostate cancer to improve therapeutic efficacy and to reduce adverse side effects.
Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 29, 2017
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