XIAP downregulation accompanies mebendazole growth inhibition in melanoma xenografts

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Mebendazole (MBZ) was identified as a promising therapeutic on the basis of its ability to induce apoptosis in melanoma cell lines through a B-cell lymphoma 2 (BCL2)-dependent mechanism. We now show that in a human xenograft melanoma model, oral MBZ is as effective as the current standard of care temozolomide in reducing tumor growth. Inhibition of melanoma growth in vivo is accompanied by phosphorylation of BCL2 and decreased levels of X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis (XIAP). Reduced expression of XIAP on treatment with MBZ is partially mediated by its proteasomal degradation. Furthermore, exposure of melanoma cells to MBZ promotes the interaction of SMAC/DIABLO with XIAP, thereby alleviating XIAP’s inhibition on apoptosis. XIAP expression on exposure to MBZ is indicative of sensitivity to MBZ as MBZ-resistant cells do not show reduced levels of XIAP after treatment. Resistance to MBZ can be reversed partially by siRNA knockdown of cellular levels of XIAP. Our data indicate that MBZ is a promising antimelanoma agent on the basis of its effects on key antiapoptotic proteins.

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