Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.378, No.3, 650-655, 2009
Blockade of constitutively activated ERK signaling enhances cytotoxicity of microtubule-destabilizing agents in tumor cells
The extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling pathway is constitutively activated in many human tumor cell types. Given the cytoprotective role of this pathway, we examined whether its specific blockade might sensitize human tumor cells to the induction of apoptosis by various anticancer drugs. Although blockade of ERK signaling alone did not induce substantial cell death, it resulted in marked and selective enhancement of the induction of apoptosis by microtubule-destabilizing agents in tumor cells in which the ERK pathway is constitutively activated. The synergistic activation of c-jun NH2-terminal kinase by the combination of all ERK pathway inhibitor and a microtubule-destabilizing agent appeared to be responsible, at least in part, for this effect. These results suggest that administration of the combination of an ERK pathway inhibitor and a microtubule-destabilizing agent is a potential chemotherapeutic strategy for the treatment of tumor cells with constitutive activation of the ERK pathway. (C) 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.