Artemisinin Derivatives Stimulate DR5-Specific TRAIL-Induced Apoptosis by Regulating Wildtype P53

Xinyu Zhou*, Sietske N Zijlstra*, Abel Soto-Gamez*, Rita Setroikromo*, Wim J Quax*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Artemisinin derivatives, widely known as commercial anti-malaria drugs, may also have huge potential in treating cancer cells. It has been reported that artemisinin derivatives can overcome resistance to tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)-induced apoptosis in liver and cervical cancer cells. In our study, we demonstrated that artesunate (ATS) and dihydroartemisinin (DHA) are more efficient in killing colon cancer cells compared to artemisinin (ART). ATS/DHA induces the expression of DR5 in a P53 dependent manner in HCT116 and DLD-1 cells. Both ATS and DHA overcome the resistance to DHER-induced apoptosis in HCT116, mainly through upregulating death receptor 5 (DR5). We also demonstrate that DHA sensitizes HCT116 cells to DHER-induced apoptosis via P53 regulated DR5 expression in P53 knockdown assays. Nevertheless, a lower effect was observed in DLD-1 cells, which has a single Ser241Phe mutation in the P53 DNA binding domain. Thus, the status of P53 could be one of the determinants of TRAIL resistance in some cancer cells. Finally, the combination treatment of DHA and the TRAIL variant DHER increases cell death in 3D colon cancer spheroid models, which shows its potential as a novel therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2514
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 4-Sept-2020

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