Elimination of quiescent/slow-proliferating cancer stem cells by Bcl-XL inhibition in non-small cell lung cancer

Giorgio Stassi, Matilde Todaro, Tiziana Apuzzo, Sette, Federica Francescangeli, Giuseppina Zapparelli, Apuzzo, Contavalli, Baiocchi, Maria Laura De Angelis, Adriana Eramo, Giorgio Stassi, Ann Zeuner, Matilde Todaro, Mauro Biffoni, Ruggero De Maria

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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
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1877-1888
Numero di pagine12
RivistaCell Death and Differentiation
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2014


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

Cita questo

Stassi, G., Todaro, M., Apuzzo, T., Sette, Francescangeli, F., Zapparelli, G., Apuzzo, Contavalli, Baiocchi, De Angelis, M. L., Eramo, A., Stassi, G., Zeuner, A., Todaro, M., Biffoni, M., & De Maria, R. (2014). Elimination of quiescent/slow-proliferating cancer stem cells by Bcl-XL inhibition in non-small cell lung cancer. Cell Death and Differentiation, 21, 1877-1888.