Lonidamine induces apoptosis in drug-resistant cells independently of the p53 gene.

Research paper by D D Del Bufalo, A A Biroccio, S S Soddu, N N Laudonio, C C D'Angelo, A A Sacchi, G G Zupi

Indexed on: 01 Sep '96Published on: 01 Sep '96Published in: The Journal of clinical investigation


Lonidamine, a dichlorinated derivative of indazole-3-carboxylic acid, was shown to play a significant role in reversing or overcoming multidrug resistance. Here, we show that exposure to 50 microg/ml of lonidamine induces apoptosis in adriamycin and nitrosourea-resistant cells (MCF-7 ADR(r) human breast cancer cell line, and LB9 glioblastoma multiform cell line), as demonstrated by sub-G1 peaks in DNA content histograms, condensation of nuclear chromatin, and internucleosomal DNA fragmentation. Moreover, we find that apoptosis is preceded by accumulation of the cells in the G0/G1 phase of the cell cycle. Interestingly, lonidamine fails to activate the apoptotic program in the corresponding sensitive parental cell lines (ADR-sensitive MCF-7 WT, and nitrosourea-sensitive LI cells) even after long exposure times. The evaluation of bcl-2 protein expression suggests that this different effect of lonidamine treatment in drug-resistant and -sensitive cell lines might not simply be due to dissimilar expression levels of bcl-2 protein. To determine whether the lonidamine-induced apoptosis is mediated by p53 protein, we used cells lacking endogenous p53 and overexpressing either wild-type p53 or dominant-negative p53 mutant. We find that apoptosis by lonidamine is independent of the p53 gene.