PRIMA-1, a mutant p53 reactivator, induces apoptosis and enhances chemotherapeutic cytotoxicity in pancreatic cancer cell lines
- First Online:
- Cite this article as:
- Izetti, P., Hautefeuille, A., Abujamra, A.L. et al. Invest New Drugs (2014) 32: 783. doi:10.1007/s10637-014-0090-9
TP53 mutation is a common event in many cancers, including pancreatic adenocarcinoma, where it occurs in 50–70 % of cases. In an effort to reactivate mutant p53 protein, several new drugs are being developed, including PRIMA-1 and PRIMA-1Met/APR-246 (p53 reactivation and induction of massive apoptosis). PRIMA-1 has been shown to induce apoptosis in tumor cells by reactivating p53 mutants, but its effect in pancreatic cancer remains unclear. Here we investigated the effects of PRIMA-1 on cell viability, cell cycle and expression of p53-regulated proteins in PANC-1 and BxPC-3 (mutant TP53), and CAPAN-2 (wild-type TP53) pancreatic cell lines. Treatment with PRIMA-1 selectively induced apoptosis and cell cycle arrest in p53 mutant cells compared to CAPAN-2 cells. The growth suppressive effect of PRIMA-1 was markedly reduced in p53 mutant cell lines transfected with p53 siRNA, supporting the role of mutant p53 in PRIMA-1 induced cell death. Moreover, treatment with the thiol group donor N-acetylcysteine completely blocked PRIMA-1-induced apoptosis and reinforced the hypothesis that thiol modifications are important for PRIMA-1 biological activity. In combination treatments, PRIMA-1 enhanced the anti-tumor activity of several chemotherapic drugs against pancreatic cancer cells and also exhibited a pronounced synergistic effect in association with the Mdm2 inhibitor Nutlin-3. Taken together, our data indicate that PRIMA-1 induces apoptosis in p53 mutant pancreatic cancer cells by promoting the re-activation of p53 and inducing proapoptotic signaling pathways, providing in vitro evidence for a potential therapeutic approach in pancreatic cancer.