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Paper Chase

Pretreatment mitochondrial priming correlates with clinical response to cytotoxic chemotherapy.

Science. Nov 25, 2011;334(6059):1129-33.
Ni Chonghaile T, Sarosiek KA, Vo TT, Ryan JA, Tammareddi A, Moore Vdel G, Deng J, Anderson KC, Richardson P, Tai YT, Mitsiades CS, Matulonis UA, Drapkin R, Stone R, Deangelo DJ, McConkey DJ, Sallan SE, Silverman L, Hirsch MS, Carrasco DR, Letai A.

Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 450 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, USA.

Abstract:

Cytotoxic chemotherapy targets elements common to all nucleated human cells, such as DNA and microtubules, yet it selectively kills tumor cells. Here we show that clinical response to these drugs correlates with, and may be partially governed by, the pretreatment proximity of tumor cell mitochondria to the apoptotic threshold, a property called mitochondrial priming. We used BH3 profiling to measure priming in tumor cells from patients with multiple myeloma, acute myelogenous and lymphoblastic leukemia, and ovarian cancer. This assay measures mitochondrial response to peptides derived from proapoptotic BH3 domains of proteins critical for death signaling to mitochondria. Patients with highly primed cancers exhibited superior clinical response to chemotherapy. In contrast, chemoresistant cancers and normal tissues were poorly primed. Manipulation of mitochondrial priming might enhance the efficacy of cytotoxic agents.