"Two hits - one stone" increased efficacy of cisplatin-based therapies by targeting PCNA's role in both DNA repair and cellular signaling
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionOncoTarget. 2018, 9 (65), 32448-32465. 10.18632/oncotarget.25963
Low response rate and rapid development of resistance against commonly used chemotherapeutic regimes demand new multi-targeting anti-cancer strategies. In this study, we target the stress-related roles of the scaffold protein PCNA with a cell-penetrating peptide containing the PCNA-interacting motif APIM. The APIM-peptide increased the efficacy of cisplatin-based therapies in a muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) solid tumor model in rat and in bladder cancer (BC) cell lines. By combining multiple omics-levels, from gene expression to proteome/kinome and metabolome, we revealed a unique downregulation of the EGFR/ERBB2 and PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathways in the APIM-peptide-cisplatin combination treated cells. Additionally, the combination treatment reduced the expression of anti-apoptotic proteins and proteins involved in development of resistance to cisplatin. Concurrently, we observed increased levels of DNA breaks in combination treated cells, suggesting that the APIM-peptide impaired PCNA - DNA repair protein interactions and reduced the efficacy of repair. This was also seen in cisplatin-resistant cells, which notably was re-sensitized to cisplatin by the APIM-peptide. Our data indicate that the increased efficacy of cisplatin treatment is mediated both via downregulation of known oncogenic signaling pathways and inhibition of DNA repair/translesion synthesis (TLS), thus the APIM-peptide hits both nuclear and cytosolic functions of PCNA. The novel multi-targeting strategy of the APIM-peptide could potentially improve the efficacy of chemotherapeutic regiments for treatment of MIBC, and likely other solid tumors.