We investigated the role of p53 and the signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1) in regulating Fas-mediated apoptosis in response to chemotherapies used to treat colorectal cancer. We found that 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and oxaliplatin only sensitized p53 wild-type (WT) colorectal cancer cell lines to Fas-mediated apoptosis. In contrast, irinotecan (CPT-11) and tomudex sensitized p53 WT, mutant, and null cells to Fas-mediated cell death. Furthermore, CPT-11 and tomudex, but not 5-FU or oxaliplatin, up-regulated Fas cell surface expression in a p53-independent manner. In addition, increased Fas cell surface expression in p53 mutant and null cell lines in response to CPT-11 and tomudex was accompanied by only a slight increase in total Fas mRNA and protein expression, suggesting that these agents trigger p53-independent trafficking of Fas to the plasma membrane. Treatment with CPT-11 or tomudex induced STAT1 phosphorylation (Ser727) in the p53-null HCT116 cell line but not the p53 WT cell line. Furthermore, STAT1-targeted small interfering RNA (siRNA) inhibited up-regulation of Fas cell surface expression in response to CPT-11 and tomudex in these cells. However, we found no evidence of altered Fas gene expression following siRNA-mediated down-regulation of STAT1 in drug-treated cells. This suggests that STAT1 regulates expression of gene(s) involved in cell surface trafficking of Fas in response to CPT-11 or tomudex. We conclude that CPT-11 and tomudex may be more effective than 5-FU and oxaliplatin in the treatment of p53 mutant colorectal cancer tumors by sensitizing them to Fas-mediated apoptosis in a STAT1-dependent manner.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research