Development of a protein signature to enable clinical positioning of IAP inhibitors in colorectal cancer

Christopher McCann, Anna Matveeva, Katherine McAllister, Sandra Van Schaeybroeck, Tamas Sessler, Michael Fichtner, Steven Carberry, Markus Rehm, Jochen H M Prehn, Daniel B Longley

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Resistance to chemotherapy-induced cell death is a major barrier to effective treatment of solid tumours such as colorectal cancer, CRC. Herein, we present a study aimed at developing a proteomics-based predictor of response to standard-of-care (SoC) chemotherapy in combination with antagonists of IAPs (inhibitors of apoptosis proteins), which have been implicated as mediators of drug resistance in CRC. We quantified the absolute expression of 19 key apoptotic proteins at baseline in a panel of 12 CRC cell lines representative of the genetic diversity seen in this disease to identify which proteins promote resistance or sensitivity to a model IAP antagonist [birinapant (Bir)] alone and in combination with SoC chemotherapy (5FU plus oxaliplatin). Quantitative western blotting demonstrated heterogeneous expression of IAP interactome proteins across the CRC cell line panel, and cell death analyses revealed a widely varied response to Bir/chemotherapy combinations. Baseline protein expression of cIAP1, caspase-8 and RIPK1 expression robustly correlated with response to Bir/chemotherapy combinations. Classifying cell lines into 'responsive', 'intermediate' and 'resistant' groups and using linear discriminant analysis (LDA) enabled the identification of a 12-protein signature that separated responders to Bir/chemotherapy combinations in the CRC cell line panel with 100% accuracy. Moreover, the LDA model was able to predict response accurately when cells were cocultured with Tumour necrosis factor-alpha to mimic a pro-inflammatory tumour microenvironment. Thus, our study provides the starting point for a proteomics-based companion diagnostic that predicts response to IAP antagonist/SoC chemotherapy combinations in CRC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5374-5388
JournalThe FEBS Journal
Issue number18
Early online date27 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021 The Authors. The FEBS Journal published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Federation of European Biochemical Societies.


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