Noxa and Mcl-1 expression influence the sensitivity to BH3-mimetics that target Bcl-xL in patient-derived glioma stem cells


The recurrence of Glioblastoma is partly attributed to the highly resistant subpopulation of glioma stem cells. A novel therapeutic approach focuses on restoring apoptotic programs in these cancer stem cells, as they are often deregulated. BH3-mimetics, targeting anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family members, are emerging as promising compounds to sensitize cancer cells to antineoplastic treatments. Herein, we determined that the most abundantly expressed anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family members, Bcl-xL and Mcl-1, are the most relevant in regulating patient-derived glioma stem cell survival. We exposed these cells to routinely used chemotherapeutic drugs and BH3-mimetics (ABT-263, WEHI-539, and S63845). We observed that the combination of BH3-mimetics targeting Bcl-xL with chemotherapeutic agents caused a marked increase in cell death and that this sensitivity to Bcl-xL inhibition correlated with Noxa expression levels. Interestingly, whereas co-targeting Bcl-xL and Mcl-1 led to massive cell death in all tested cell lines, down-regulation of Noxa promoted cell survival only in cell lines expressing higher levels of this BH3-only. Therefore, in glioma stem cells, the efficacy of Bcl-xL inhibition is closely associated with Mcl-1 activity and Noxa expression. Hence, a potentially effective strategy would consist of combining Bcl-xL inhibitors with chemotherapeutic agents capable of inducing Noxa, taking advantage of this pro-apoptotic factor. © 2022. The Author(s).

Authors Vera MB, Morris-Hanon O, Nogueiras GI, Ripari LB, Esquivel MI, Perez-Castro C, Romorini L, Sevlever GE, Scassa ME, Videla-Richardson GA
Journal Scientific reports
Publication Date 2022 Oct 22;12(1):17729
PubMed 36273072
PubMed Central PMC9587994
DOI 10.1038/s41598-022-20910-4

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