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eISSN: 1643-3750

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Synergistic Effect of Notch-3-Specific Inhibition and Paclitaxel in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) Cells Via Activation of The Intrinsic Apoptosis Pathway

Fenglian He, Ting Du, Qian Jiang, Yanbei Zhang

(Department of Respiratory Medicine, Anhui Geriatric Institute, The First Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical University, Hefei, Anhui, China (mainland))

Med Sci Monit 2017; 23:3760-3769

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.902641


BACKGROUND: Lung cancers are resistant to conventional chemotherapeutic interventions such as paclitaxel. Notch signaling is crucial in the chemoresistance of lung cancer cells. The Notch inhibitor gamma-secretase inhibitor (GSI) inhibits the Notch signaling pathway.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Here, we evaluated how Notch-3 inhibition by GSI can enhance the sensitivity of lung cancer cells to paclitaxel. To study how Notch-3-specific inhibition affects non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), we compared the cell viability, apoptosis, and colony formation of A549 and H1299 cells treated with Notch-3 siRNA and GSI.
RESULTS: The expression levels of Notch-3 or Notch intracellular domain 3 (NICD3) and apoptosis-related proteins were measured and compared between different groups. Notch-3 was significantly overexpressed in both cell lines, and Notch-3 expression was elevated after paclitaxel treatment, indicating activation of the Notch signaling pathway. Inhibition of the Notch signaling pathway by GSI and Notch-3 siRNA reduced cell proliferation and induced apoptosis in A549 and H1299 cells, thereby boosting sensitivity of the cell lines to paclitaxel. Concomitant treatment with paclitaxel and GSI or siRNA downregulated Bcl-2 expression and upregulated Bax expression levels.
CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate a synergistic effect of Notch-3-specific inhibition and paclitaxel through alteration of the intrinsic apoptosis pathway, which was involved in Notch-3-induced chemoresistance in NSCLC cells, and GSI inhibited Notch-3-induced chemoresistance in a concentration-dependent manner. This approach that combines Notch-3-specific inhibition and paclitaxel would be likely to apply in NSCLC.

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