Undoubtedly ovarian cancer is a vexing, incurable disease for patients with recurrent cancer and therapeutic options are limited. Although the polycomb group gene, Bmi-1 that regulates the self-renewal of normal stem and progenitor cells has been implicated in the pathogenesis of many human malignancies, yet a role for Bmi-1 in influencing chemotherapy response has not been addressed before. Here we demonstrate that silencing Bmi-1 reduces intracellular GSH levels and thereby sensitizes chemoresistant ovarian cancer cells to chemotherapeutics such as cisplatin. By exacerbating ROS production in response to cisplatin, Bmi-1 silencing activates the DNA damage response pathway, caspases and cleaves PARP resulting in the induction apoptosis in ovarian cancer cells. In an in vivo orthotopic mouse model of chemoresistant ovarian cancer, knockdown of Bmi-1 by nanoliposomal delivery significantly inhibits tumor growth. While cisplatin monotherapy was inactive, combination of Bmi-1 silencing along with cisplatin almost completely abrogated ovarian tumor growth. Collectively these findings establish Bmi-1 as an important new target for therapy in chemoresistant ovarian cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)