Chemoresistant KM12C colon cancer cells are addicted to low cyclic AMP levels in a phosphodiesterase 4-regulated compartment via effects on phosphoinositide 3-kinase

David G McEwan, Valerie G Brunton, George S Baillie, Nicholas R Leslie, Miles D Houslay, Margaret C Frame

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

One of the major problems in treating colon cancer is chemoresistance to cytotoxic chemotherapeutic agents. There is therefore a need to devise new strategies to inhibit colon cancer cell growth and survival. Here, we show that a combination of low doses of the adenylyl cyclase activator forskolin together with the specific cyclic AMP (cAMP) phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE4) inhibitor rolipram, but not the cAMP phosphodiesterase-3 (PDE3) inhibitor cilostamide, causes profound growth arrest of chemoresistant KM12C colon cancer cells. Low-dose forskolin causes KM12C cells to exit the cell cycle in G1 by inducing p27(Kip1) and primes cells for apoptosis on addition of rolipram. The effect of the low-dose forskolin/rolipram combination is mediated by displacement of the phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate/phosphoinositide 3-kinase signaling module from the plasma membrane and suppression of the Akt/protein kinase-B oncogene pathway, to which KM12C cells are addicted for growth. The cAMP and phosphoinositide 3-kinase pathways form a critical intersection in this response, and reexpression of the tumor suppressor lipid phosphatase, phosphatase and tensin homologue, which is commonly lost or mutated in colon cancer, sensitizes KM12C cells to growth inhibition by challenge with low-dose forskolin. Certain chemoresistant colon cancer cells are therefore exquisitely sensitive to subtle elevation of cAMP by a synergistic low-dose adenylyl cyclase activator/PDE4 inhibitor combination. Indeed, these cells are addicted to maintenance of low cAMP concentrations in a compartment that is regulated by PDE4. Well-tolerated doses of PDE4 inhibitors that are already in clinical development for other therapeutic indications may provide an exciting new strategy for the treatment of colon cancer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5248-57
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2007

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • 3',5'-Cyclic-AMP Phosphodiesterases
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Growth Processes
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Colforsin
  • Colonic Neoplasms
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Cyclic Nucleotide Phosphodiesterases, Type 4
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Humans
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors
  • Rolipram
  • Signal Transduction


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