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Saturday 01 November 2003

Rituximab (anti-CD20) selectively modifies Bcl-xL and apoptosis protease activating factor-1 (Apaf-1) expression and sensitizes human non-Hodgkin's lymphoma B cell lines to paclitaxel-induced apoptosis.

By: Jazirehi AR, Gan XH, De Vos S, Emmanouilides C, Bonavida B.

Mol Cancer Ther 2003 Nov;2(11):1183-93

The anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody rituximab (Rituxan, IDEC-C2B8) has shown promising results in the clinical treatment of a subset of patients with low grade or follicular non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). However, chemotherapy- and rituximab-refractory NHL patients may benefit from a regimen in which rituximab acts as a sensitizing agent. This study examined the apoptotic signaling mediated by rituximab on rituximab- and paclitaxel-resistant CD20(+) NHL B cell lines (Ramos, Raji, Daudi, and 2F7). Treatment with either rituximab (20 micro g/ml) or paclitaxel (0.1-1000 nM) inhibited viable cell recovery of NHL lines. Neither rituximab nor paclitaxel induced significant apoptosis, although the combination treatment resulted in synergy in apoptosis. Rituximab selectively down-regulated Bcl-xL and induced apoptosis protease activating factor 1 (Apaf-1) expressions in Ramos cells. Paclitaxel down-regulated the expression of Bcl-xL and inhibitor of apoptosis proteins (c-IAP-1) and up-regulated the expression of Bad and Apaf-1. The combination treatment resulted in the formation of truncated Bid, cytosolic accumulation of cytochrome c and second mitochondria-derived activator of caspase/direct inhibitor of apoptosis-binding protein with low PI, activation of caspase-9, caspase-7, caspase-3, and cleavage of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase. The findings identify two potential novel intracellular targets of rituximab-mediated signaling in Ramos NHL cells (i.e., Bcl-xL and Apaf-1). Further, the findings show that both rituximab and paclitaxel selectively modify the expression pattern of proteins involved in the apoptosis signal transduction pathway and, through functional complementation, the combination results in synergy in apoptosis. The potential therapeutic significance of these findings is discussed.

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