Cancer cells often acquire capabilities to evade cell death induced by current chemotherapeutic treatment approaches. Caspase-8, a central initiator of death receptor–mediated apoptosis, for example, is frequently inactivated in human cancers via multiple mechanisms such as mutation. Here, we show an approach to overcome cell death resistance in caspase-8–deficient colorectal cancer (CRC) by induction of necroptosis. In both a hereditary and a xenograft mouse model of caspase-8–deficient CRC, second mitochondria-derived activator of caspase (SMAC) mimetic treatment induced massive cell death and led to regression of tumors. We further demonstrate that receptor-interacting protein kinase 3 (RIP3), which is highly expressed in mouse models of CRC and in a subset of human CRC cell lines, is the deciding factor of cancer cell susceptibility to SMAC mimetic–induced necroptosis. Thus, our data implicate that it may be worthwhile to selectively evaluate the efficacy of SMAC mimetic treatment in CRC patients with caspase-8 deficiency in clinical trials for the development of more effective personalized therapy.
- Submitted: 29 March 2016
- Revision received 12 January 2017
- Accepted: 23 March 2017
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