HSP90 is a promising target in gemcitabine and 5-fluorouracil resistant pancreatic cancer

Tarik Ghadban, Judith L. Dibbern, Matthias Reeh, Jameel T. Miro, Tung Y. Tsui, Ulrich Wellner, Jakob R. Izbicki, Cenap Güngör, Yogesh K. Vashist*

*Corresponding author for this work
11 Citations (Scopus)


Chemotherapy (CT) options in pancreatic cancer (PC) are limited to gemcitabine and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). Several identified molecular targets in PC represent client proteins of HSP90. HSP90 is a promising target since it interferes with many oncogenic signaling pathways simultaneously. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of different HSP90 inhibitors in gemcitabine and 5-FU resistant PC. PC cell lines 5061, 5072 and 5156 were isolated and brought in to culture from patients being operated at our institution. L3.6pl cell line served as a control. Anti-proliferative efficacy of three different HSP90 inhibitors (17-AAG, 17-DMAG and 17-AEPGA) was evaluated by the MTT assay. Alterations in signaling pathway effectors and apoptosis upon HSP90 inhibition were determined by western blot analysis and annexin V/PI staining. The cell lines 5061, 5072 and 5156 were resistant to gemcitabine and 5-FU. In contrast 17-AAG and the water-soluble derivates 17-DMAG and 17-AEPGA displayed high anti-proliferative activity in all tested cell lines. The calculated IC50 was below 1 µM. Highly significant down regulation of epidermal-growth-factor-receptor, insulin-like-growth-factor-receptor-1, AKT and MAPK reflected the intracellular molecular signaling-network disruption. Furthermore, besides HSP70 also HSP27 was upregulated in all cell lines. Apoptosis occurred early under HSP90 inhibition and was determined by annexin V/PI staining and CASPASE-3 and PARP assay. In contrast, gemcitabine treated cells did not show any apoptosis. HSP90 inhibition disrupts multiple signaling cascades in gemcitabine and 5-FU resistant PC simultaneously and promotes cancer cell apoptosis. Watersoluble 17-DMAG is equally effective as 17-AAG. HSP27, besides HSP70, may represent an effective response marker of successful HSP90 inhibition.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)369-380
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 01.03.2017

Research Areas and Centers

  • Research Area: Luebeck Integrated Oncology Network (LION)


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