Abrogation of the Chk1-mediated G2 checkpoint pathway potentiates temozolomide-induced toxicity in a p53-independent manner in human glioblastoma cells

Y. Hirose, M. S. Berger, R. O. Pieper

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207 Citations (Scopus)


Temozolomide (TMZ) produces O6-methylguanine in DNA, which in turn mispairs with thymine, triggering futile DNA mismatch repair (MMR) and ultimately cell death. We found previously that in p53-proficient human glioma cells, TMZ-induced futile DNA MMR resulted not in apoptosis but rather in prolonged, p53- and p21-associated G2-M arrest and senescence. Additionally, p53-deficient cells were relatively more TMZ resistant than p53-deficient glioma cells, which underwent only transient G2-M arrest before death by mitotic catastrophe. These results suggested that prolonged G2-M arrest might protect cells from TMZ-induced cytotoxicity. In the present study, we therefore focused on the mechanism by which TMZ induces G2-M arrest and on whether inhibition of such G2-M arrest might sensitize glioma cells to TMZ-induced toxicity. U87MG glioma cells treated with TMZ underwent G2-M arrest associated with Chk1 activation and phosphorylation of both cdc25C and cdc2. These TMZ-induced effects were inhibited by the Chk1 kinase inhibitor UCN-01. Although not in itself toxic, UCN-01 increased the cytotoxicity of TMZ 5-fold, primarily by inhibiting cellular senescence and increasing the percentage of cells bypassing G2-M arrest and undergoing mitotic catastrophe. In addition to enhancing TMZ-induced cytotoxicity in p53-proficient cells, UCN-01 also blocked TMZ-induced Chk1 activation and transient G2-M arrest in p53-deficient U87MG-E6 cells and similarly enhanced TMZ-induced mitotic catastrophe and cell death. Taken together, these results indicate that Chk1 links TMZ-induced MMR to G2-M arrest. Furthermore, inhibition of the cytoprotective G2 arrest pathway sensitizes cells to TMZ-induced cytotoxicity and may representa novel, mechanism-based means of increasing TMZ efficacy in both p53 wild-type and p53 mutant glioma cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5843-5849
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Research
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 01-08-2001
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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