Antihypertensive drug-candesartan attenuates TRAIL resistance in human lung cancer via AMPK-mediated inhibition of autophagy flux

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Angiotensin II type 1 receptor blockers (ARBs) are widely used as antihypertensive drugs. Candesartan is an ARB that has also been known for its anticancer effects but the exact molecular mechanism is remaining elusive. In this research, we showed for the first time that candesartan treatment significantly sensitized human lung adenocarcinoma cells to Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)-mediated apoptosis by targeting TRAIL-DR5. TRAIL selectively kills cancer cells by binding to death receptors on the cell membrane, beyond the levels causing minimal toxicity in normal cells. However, some non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) patients are resistant to TRAIL treatment in clinical trials due to inactivation of the death receptors during cytoprotective autophagy. The molecular mechanisms underlying candesartan-induced TRAIL-mediated apoptosis involved the downstream of AMPK phosphorylation resulting inhibition of autophagy flux, recruitment of death receptor 5 (DR5) and activation of apoptotic caspase cascade. Candesartan treatment also inhibits the expression of anti-apoptotic protein c-FLIP. Furthermore, blocking DR5 signaling using DR5 siRNA negatively regulated the apoptotic pathway and also induced autophagy flux, demonstrating the cytoprotective role of autophagy responsible for treatment resistance. This suggests that candesartan can be used to sensitize tumors to TRAIL treatment and may represent a useful strategy for human adenocarcinoma patients to overcome TRAIL resistance. Candesartan in combination with TRAIL also could be a novel therapeutic treatment for patients presenting both conditions of hypertension and lung cancer.HighlightsCandesartan sensitizes lung adenocarcinoma to TRAIL via targeting TRAIL-DR5.Autophagy inhibition by candesartan recruit DR5, induces TRAIL mediated caspase cascade.Candesartan down regulate cFLIP, attenuates TRAIL resistance to lung adenocarcinoma.Candesartan synergistic to TRAIL for patients presenting both hypertension and cancer.

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