Overexpression of Tyro3 receptor tyrosine kinase leads to the acquisition of taxol resistance in ovarian cancer cells

Overexpression of Tyro3 receptor tyrosine kinase leads to the acquisition of taxol resistance in ovarian cancer cells
Issue Date
MOLECULAR MEDICINE REPORTS, v.12, no.1, pp.1485 - 1492
The majority of patients with ovarian cancer are diagnosed at the advanced stages (III/IV) and their 5-year-survival rate is relatively low. One of the major causes of the poor prognosis of ovarian cancer is the development of resistance to first-line chemotherapy, including platinum and taxol. Therefore, improvements in current understanding of chemoresistance is required for the successful treatment of ovarian cancer. In the present study, taxol-resistant ovarian cancer cells, SKOV3/TR, were established by exposing parental SKOV3 cells to increasing concentrations of taxol.. Briefly, cells were treated with 1.5 nM (for 4 weeks), 3 nM (for 4 weeks), 6 nM (for 5 weeks), 12 nM (for 5 weeks) and 24 nM taxol (for 8 weeks) over 6 months. The SKOV3/TR cells were found to be smaller in size and rounder in shape compared with their parental cells. Cell viability and colony formation assays demonstrated an increase in the population doubling time of the SKOV3/TR cells, indicating a reduction in the proliferative capacity of these cells. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and western blot analysis revealed that, among the TAM receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), the mRNA and protein expression levels of Tyro3 RTK were increased, while those of Axl and Mer RTK were decreased in the SKOV3/TR cells. In addition, restoration of the level of Tyro3 by transfecting Tyro3-specific small interfering RNA into the SKOV3/TR cells reduced the proliferative capacity of the cells, indicating that upregulation of the expression of Tyro3 in SKOV3/TR cells may promote survival in the presence of taxol, which eventually resulted in the acquisition of resistance upon taxol treatment. The present study subsequently found that, in the SKOV3/TR cells, the level of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) was elevated, and antioxidant treatment with N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) exerted more profound antiproliferative effects compared with the parental cells. The western blot analysis demonstrated that treatment of the SKOV3/TR cells with NAC reduced the protein expression of Tyro3, and the inhibitory effect of NAC on the phosphorylation of Akt was increased, which may have had a positive effect on the proliferation of the SKOV3/TR cells. The levels of phosphorylation and protein expression of signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 (STAT3) were not affected by NAC treatment, indicating that the phosphorylation of Akt, but not expression or phosphorylation of STAT3, was associated with the increased intracellular ROS level in the SKOV3/TR cells. Taken together, the results of the present study demonstrated that the acquired taxol resistance of ovarian cancer cells was associated with ROS-dependent upregulation in the expression of Tyro3 RTK and the subsequent activation of Akt.
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