Parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) is a key component in breast development and breast tumour biology. PTHrP has been discovered as a causative agent of hypercalcaemia of malignancy and is also one of the main factors implicated in breast cancer mediated osteolysis. Clinical studies have determined that PTHrP expression by primary breast cancers was an independent predictor of improved prognosis. Furthermore, PTHrP has been demonstrated to cause tumour cell death both in vitro and in vivo. Apo2L/TRAIL is a promising new anti-cancer agent, due to its ability to selectively induce apoptosis in cancer cells whilst sparing most normal cells. However, some cancer cells are resistant to Apo2L/TRAIL-induced apoptosis thus limiting its therapeutic efficacy. The effects of PTHrP on cell death signalling pathways initiated by Apo2L/TRAIL were investigated in breast cancer cells. Expression of PTHrP in Apo2L/TRAIL resistant cell line MCF-7 sensitised these cells to Apo2L/TRAIL-induced apoptosis. The actions of PTHrP resulted from intracellular effects, since exogenous treatment of PTHrP had no effect on Apo2L/TRAIL-induced apoptosis. Apo2L/TRAIL-induced apoptosis in PTHrP expressing cells occurred through the activation of caspase-10 resulting in caspase-9 activation and induction of apoptosis through the effector caspases, caspase-6 and -7. PTHrP increased cell surface expression of Apo2L/TRAIL death receptors, TRAIL-R1 and TRAIL-R2. Antagonistic antibodies against the death receptors demonstrated that Apo2L/TRAIL mediated its apoptotic signals through activation of the TRAIL-R2 in PTHrP expressing breast cancer cells. These studies reveal a novel role for PTHrP with Apo2L/TRAIL that maybe important for future diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. © 2013 Cheung et al.
Cheung, V., Bouralexis, S., & Gillespie, M. T. (2013). PTHrP Overexpression Increases Sensitivity of Breast Cancer Cells to Apo2L/TRAIL. PLoS ONE, 8(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0066343