Tanshinone IIA induces TRAIL sensitization of human lung cancer cells through selective ER stress induction.
Int J Oncol. 2016 May ;48(5):2205-12. Epub 2016 Mar 15. PMID: 26983803
Although tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is a promised anticancer medicine targeting only the tumor, most cancers show resistance to TRAIL-induced apoptosis. For this reason, new therapeutic strategies to overcome the TRAIL resistance are required for more effective tumor treatment. In the present study, potential of tanshinone IIA as a TRAIL sensitizer was evaluated in human non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells. NSCLC cells showed resistance to TRAIL-mediated cell death, but combination treatment of Tanshinone IIA and TRAIL synergistically decreased cell viability and increased apoptosis in TRAIL-resistant NSCLC cells. Tanshinone IIA greatly induced death receptor 5 (DR5), but not death receptor 4 (DR4). Furthermore, DR5 knockdown attenuated the combination treatment of tanshinone IIA with TRAIL-mediated cell death in human NSCLC cells. Tanshinone IIA also increased CHOP and activated the PERK-ATF4 pathway suggesting that tanshinone IIA increased DR5 and CHOP by activating the PERK-ATF4 pathway. Tanshinone IIA also downregulated phosphorylation of STAT3 and expression of survivin. Taken together, these results indicate that tanshinone IIA increases TRAIL-induced cell death via upregulating DR5 and downregulating survivin mediated by, respectively, selective activation of PERK/ATF4 and inhibition of STAT3, suggesting combinatorial intervention of tanshinone IIA and TRAIL as a new therapeutic strategy for human NSCLC.