While numerous cell signaling pathways are known to play decisive roles in chemotherapeutic response, relatively little is known about the impact of the Smad-dependent transforming growth factor β pathway on the therapeutic outcome. Previous reports suggested that patients with lung cancer who continue to smoke while receiving chemotherapy have a poorer outcome than their nonsmoking counterparts do. In our previous study, we showed that longterm cigarette smoke condensate (CSC)-mediated down-regulation of Smad3 induces tumorigenesis. The objective of this study was to determine the mechanism of function of Smad3 in chemoresistance induced by CSC in human lung cell lines, namely, A549 and HPL1A. Long-term CSC treatment increases the half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) of carboplatin and makes cells resistant to carboplatin. The increase in IC50 of long-term CSC-treated cells is due to the reduced induction in apoptosis by carboplatin. The increase in IC50 and decrease in apoptosis in long-term CSC-treated cells is correlated with the expression of Bcl2. We have determined that Bcl2 is both necessary and sufficient to make the cells resistant to carboplatin. We have also shown that Smad3 acts upstream to regulate the expression of Bcl2 specifically and, thus, sensitivity of the cells to carboplatin. This is supported by the inverse correlation between the expressions of Smad3 and Bcl2 in human lung tumors. Collectively, these data suggest that loss of Smad3 expression in CSC-treated cells induces resistance to carboplatin by upregulating the expression of Bcl2. This study explains, at least in part, the higher chemoresistance rate observed in smokers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research