Dual inhibition of BDNF/TrkB and autophagy: a promising therapeutic approach for colorectal cancer

Abstract : Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the most common digestive cancer in the Western world. Despite effective therapies, resistance and/or recurrence frequently occur. The present study investigated the impact of two survival pathways—neurotrophic factors (TrkB/BDNF) and autophagy—on cell fate and tumour evolution. In vitro studies were performed on two CRC cell lines, SW480 (primary tumour) and SW620 (lymph node invasion), which were also used for subcutaneous xenografts on a nude mouse model. In addition, the presence of neurotrophic factors (NTs) and autophagy markers were assessed in tissue samples representative of different stages. On the basis of our previous study (which demonstrated that TrkB overexpression is associated with prosurvival signaling in CRC cells), we pharmacologically inhibited NTs pathways with K252a. As expected, an inactivation of the PI3K/AKT pathway was observed and CRC cells initiated autophagy. Conversely, blocking the autophagic flux with chloroquine or with ATG5-siRNA overactivated TrkB/BDNF signaling. In vitro, dual inhibition improved the effectiveness of single treatment by significantly reducing metabolic activity and enhancing apoptotic cell death. These findings were accentuated in vivo, in which dual inhibition induced a spectacular reduction in tumour volume following long-term treatment (21 days for K252a and 12 days for CQ). Finally, significant amounts of phospho-TrkB and LC3II were found in the patients' tissues, highlighting their relevance in CRC tumour biology. Taken together, our results show that targeting NTs and autophagy pathways potentially constitutes a new therapeutic approach for CRC.
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Clément Mazouffre, Sophie Geyl, Aurélie Perraud, Sabrina Blondy, Marie-Odile Jauberteau, et al.. Dual inhibition of BDNF/TrkB and autophagy: a promising therapeutic approach for colorectal cancer. Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Wiley Open Access, 2017, 21 (10), pp.2610-2622. ⟨10.1111/jcmm.13181⟩. ⟨hal-01807807⟩

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