HSP90 inhibition alters the chemotherapy-driven rearrangement of the oncogenic secretome.


Adaptive resistance to therapy is a hallmark of cancer progression. To date, it is not entirely clear how microenvironmental stimuli would mediate emergence of therapy-resistant cell subpopulations, although a rearrangement of the cancer cell secretome following therapy-induced stress can be pivotal for such a process. Here, by using the highly chemoresistant malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) as an experimental model, we unveiled a key contribution of the chaperone HSP90 at assisting a chemotherapy-instigated Senescence-Associated-Secretory-Phenotype (SASP). Thus, administration of a clinical trial grade, HSP90, inhibitor blunted the release of several cytokines by the chemotherapy-treated MPM cells, including interleukin (IL)-8. Reduction of IL-8 levels hampered the FAK-AKT signaling and inhibited 3D growth and migration. This correlated with downregulation of key EMT and chemoresistance genes and affected the survival of chemoresistant ALDH<sup>bright</sup> cell subpopulations. Altogether, inhibition of HSP90 provoked a switch from a pro-tumorigenic SASP to a pro-apoptotic senescence status, thus resulting in chemosensitizing effects. In mouse xenografts treated with first-line agents, inhibiting HSP90 blunted FAK activation and reduced the expression of ALDH1A3 and the levels of circulating human IL-8, these latter strongly correlating with the effect on tumor growth. We validated the above findings in primary mesothelioma cultures, a more clinically relevant model. We unveiled here a key contribution of the chaperone HSP90 at assisting the secretory stress in chemotherapy-treated cells, which may warrant further investigation in combinatorial therapeutic settings.

  • Alessandrini G
  • Amoreo CA
  • Blandino G
  • Ciliberto G
  • Cioce M
  • De Maria R
  • Facciolo F
  • Galati R
  • Nuvoli B
  • Pass HI
  • Strano S
  • di Martino S
PubMed ID
Appears In
Oncogene, 2018, 37 (10)