Gyurászová K, Mikeš J, Halaburková A, Jendželovský R, Fedoročko P
Photochem. Photobiol. Sci. 15 (6) 812-821 [2016-06-08; online 2016-05-31]
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) represents a rapidly developing alternative treatment for various types of cancers. Although considered highly effective, cancer cells can exploit various mechanisms, including the upregulation of apoptosis inhibitors, to overcome the cytotoxic effect of PDT. Survivin, a member of the inhibitor of apoptosis protein family, is known to play a critical role in cancer progression and therapeutic resistance and therefore represents a potential therapeutic target. The aim of this study was to investigate whether YM155, a small molecule inhibitor of survivin expression, can potentiate the cytotoxic effect of hypericin-mediated PDT (HY-PDT). Accordingly, two cell lines resistant to HY-PDT, HT-29 (colorectal adenocarcinoma) and A549 (lung adenocarcinoma), were treated either with HY-PDT alone or in combination with YM155. The efficacy of different treatment regimens was assessed by MTT assay, flow cytometry analysis of metabolic activity, viability, phosphatidylserine externalisation, mitochondrial membrane potential and caspase-3 activity and immunoblotting for the cleavage of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP). Here we show for the first time that the repression of survivin expression by YM155 is effective in sensitizing HT-29 and A549 cells to HY-PDT, as measured by the decrease in cell viability and induction of apoptosis. Combined treatment with hypericin and YM155 led to a more severe dissipation of the mitochondrial membrane potential and caused an increase in caspase-3 activation and subsequent PARP cleavage. Our results demonstrate that the repression of survivin expression by YM155 potentially represents a novel alternative strategy to increase the efficacy of HY-PDT in cancer cells that are otherwise weakly responsive or non-responsive to treatment.