Up-regulated signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT)-mediated signaling is believed to contribute to the pathogenesis of a variety of solid and hematologic cancers. Consequently, inhibition of STAT-mediated signaling has recently been proposed as a potential new therapeutic approach to the treatment of cancers. Having shown previously that the pan-cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor flavopiridol binds to DNA and seems to kill cancer cells via that process in some circumstances, we evaluated the hypothesis that flavopiridol might consequently disrupt STAT3/DNA interactions, attenuate STAT3-directed transcription, and down-regulate STAT3 downstream polypeptides, including the antiapoptotic polypeptide Mcl-1. SDS-PAGE/immunoblotting and reverse transcription-PCR were used to assess RNA and polypeptide levels, respectively. DNA cellulose affinity chromatography and a nuclear elution assay were used to evaluate the ability of flavopiridol to disrupt STAT3/DNA interactions. A STAT3 luciferase reporter assay was used to examine the ability of flavopiridol to attenuate STAT3-directed transcription. Colony-forming assays were used to assess cytotoxic synergy between flavopiridol and AG490. Flavopiridol was found to (a) disrupt STAT3/DNA interactions (DNA cellulose affinity chromatography and nuclear elution assay), (b) attenuate STAT3-directed transcription (STAT3 luciferase reporter assay), and (c) down-regulate the STAT3 downstream antiapoptotic polypeptide Mcl-1 at the transcriptional level (reverse transcription-PCR and SDS-PAGE/immunoblotting). Furthermore, flavopiridol, but not the microtubule inhibitor paclitaxel, could be combined with the STAT3 pathway inhibitor AG490 to achieve cytotoxic synergy in A549 human non-small cell lung cancer cells. Collectively, these data suggest that flavopiridol can attenuate STAT3-directed transcription in a targeted fashion and may therefore be exploitable clinically in the development of chemotherapy regimens combining flavopiridol and other inhibitors of STAT3 signaling pathways.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research