MGMT inhibition suppresses survivin expression in pancreatic cancer


OBJECTIVES: Survivin, an antiapoptotic gene inhibited by p53, is overexpressed in human cancers and correlates with chemotherapy resistance. Here, we investigated the mutual regulatory mechanism between MGMT (O-methylguanine DNA methyltransferase) and survivin.

METHODS: This study used standard techniques for protein and messenger RNA levels, promoter activity, protein-DNA interaction, cell viability, and correlative animal model.

RESULTS: O-benzylguanine (BG), a potent inhibitor of MGMT (a DNA repair protein), curtails the expression of survivin in pancreatic cancer. Silencing MGMT by small interfering RNA down-regulates survivin transcription. p53 inhibition enhances MGMT and survivin expressions. When p53 was silenced, BG-induced MGMT inhibition was not associated with the down-regulation of survivin, underscoring the regulatory role of p53 in the MGMT-survivin axis. O-benzylguanine inhibits survivin and PCNA (proliferating cell nuclear antigen) at messenger RNA and protein levels in PANC-1 and L3.6pl cells and decreases survivin promoter activity via increased p53 recruitment to the survivin promoter. In orthotopic pancreatic xenografts established in nude mice, BG ± gemcitabine (GEM) decrease survivin expression in tumor tissue; protein levels and immunohistochemistry show significant decrease in survivin and PCNA levels, which correlate with increased sensitivity to GEM.

CONCLUSIONS: MGMT inhibition is associated with decrease in survivin expression and increase in sensitivity to GEM in pancreatic cancer.

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