Loss of Caspase-8 function in combination with SMAC mimetic treatment sensitizes Head and Neck Squamous Carcinoma to radiation through induction of necroptosis

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
B. UzunparmakCurtis R Pickering


Caspase-8 (CASP8) is one of the most frequently mutated genes in head and neck squamous carcinomas (HNSCC), and mutations of CASP8 are associated with poor overall survival. The distribution of these mutations in HNSCC suggests that they are likely to be inactivating. Inhibition of CASP8 has been reported to sensitize cancer cells to necroptosis, a unique cell death mechanism. Here, we evaluated how CASP8 regulates necroptosis in HSNCC using cell line models and syngeneic mouse xenografts. In vitro, knockdown of CASP8 rendered HNSCCs susceptible to necroptosis induced by a second mitochondria-derived activator of caspase (SMAC) mimetic, Birinapant, when combined with pan-caspase inhibitors Z-VAD-FMK or Emricasan. Strikingly, inhibition of CASP8 function via knockdown or Emricasan treatment was associated with enhanced radiation killing by Birinapant through induction of necroptosis. In a syngeneic mouse model of oral cancer, Birinapant, particularly when combined with radiation delayed tumor growth and enhanced survival under CASP8 loss. Exploration of molecular underpinnings of necroptosis sensitivity confirmed that the level of functional receptor-interacting serine/threonine-protein kinase-3 (RIP3), a key enzyme in the necro...Continue Reading

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