Cisplatin is widely used for the treatment of solid tumors, including small cell lung cancers, but its success is often compromised due to relapse and resistance to further treatment, p70 ribosomal S6 kinase (p70S6K) has been shown to be upregulated in lung cancer cells. In the present study, we investigated whether the p70S6K pathway contributes to cisplatin resistance in human small cell lung cancer H69 cells. The levels of phosphorylated p70S6K and its downstream target S6 but not total p70S6K or S6 were elevated in the H69 cells that acquired resistance to cisplatin (H69/CP) compared to parental H69 cells. Cisplatin treatment resulted in the activation of p70S6K and downregulation of p70S6K was associated with cisplatin-induced PARP cleavage. While the ability of cisplatin to induce apoptosis was attenuated in H69/CP cells, inhibition of p70S6K by rapamycin enhanced cisplatin-induced apoptosis in these cells as evident by the increase in cisplatin-induced poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) cleavage. The phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor Ly294002 alone induced PARP cleavage and further augmented cisplatin-induced PARP cleavage. In contrast, inhibition of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) by U0126 attenuated cisplatin-induced PARP cleavage. Both rapamycin and Ly294002 enhanced cisplatin-induced activation of ERK1/2. Taken together, these results suggest that activation of p70S6K contributes to cisplatin resistance in small cell lung cancer H69 cells, and inhibition/ downregulation of p70S6K as well as activation of ERK1/2 could circumvent cisplatin resistance.
- Small cell lung cancer