Levamisole enhances DR4-independent apoptosis induced by TRAIL through inhibiting the activation of JNK in lung cancer

Lung Cancer

Qiao X, et al. Life Sci 2020.


THE HEADINGS AIMS: Levamisole has anti-parasite and antitumor activities, but the anti-lung cancer mechanism has not been studied. Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is regarded as a promising drug because of the ability to selectively target cancer cells. However, the tolerance of cancer cells to TRAIL limits its antitumor activity. Other drugs combined with TRAIL need to be explored to enhance its antitumor activity. Based on the adjuvant anticancer effect of

levamisole on anticancer drugs activity, the antitumor activity of levamisole combined with TRAIL will be investigated.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: In vitro and in vivo experiments were employed to investigate the anti-tumor activity. Flow-cytometry analysis, western blotting and siRNA transfection were used to explore the molecular mechanism.

KEY FINDINGS: Levamisole decreased the proliferation of lung cancer cells in vitro and in vivo and induced cell cycle arrest in G0/G1 phase. Besides, levamisole also enhanced TRAIL-induced DR4-independent apoptosis by inhibiting the phosphorylation of cJUN. A new cellular protective pathway LC3B-DR4/Erk was also disclosed, in which levamisole only increased the expression of LC3B and then activated the phosphorylation of Erk and increased the expression of DR4, while p-Erk and DR4 inter-regulated.

SIGNIFICANCE: Levamisole may be used as an adjuvant of TRAIL in treating lung cancer. The discovery of LC3B-DR4/Erk as a new protective pathway provides a new direction for sensitizing lung cancer cells to TRAIL.