Disrupting protein NEDDylation with MLN4924 is a novel strategy to target cisplatin resistance in ovarian cancer

Steffan T. Nawrocki, Kevin R. Kelly, Peter G. Smith, Claudia M. Espitia, Anthony Possemato, Sean A. Beausoleil, Michael Milhollen, Stephen Blakemore, Michael Thomas, Allison Berger, Jennifer S. Carew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Purpose: Ovarian cancer has the highest mortality rate of all female reproductive malignancies. Drug resistance is a major cause of treatment failure and novel therapeutic strategies are urgently needed. MLN4924 is a NEDDylation inhibitor currently under investigation in multiple phase I studies. We investigated its anticancer activity in cisplatin-sensitive and -resistant ovarian cancer models. Experimental Design: Cellular sensitivity to MLN4924/cisplatin was determined by measuring viability, clonogenic survival, and apoptosis. The effects of drug treatment on global protein expression, DNA damage, and reactive oxygen species generation were determined.RNAinterference established natural born killer/bcl-2-interacting killer (NBK/BIK) as a regulator of therapeutic sensitivity. The in vivo effects of MLN4924/cisplatin on tumor burden and key pharmacodynamics were assessed in cisplatin-sensitive and -resistant xenograft models. Results: MLN4924 possessed significant activity against both cisplatin-sensitive and -resistant ovarian cancer cells and provoked the stabilization of key NEDD8 substrates and regulators of cellular redox status. Notably, MLN4924 significantly augmented the activity of cisplatin against cisplatin-resistant cells, suggesting that aberrant NEDDylation may contribute to drug resistance. MLN4924 and cisplatin cooperated to induce DNA damage, oxidative stress, and increased expression of the BH3-only protein NBK/BIK. Targeted NBK/BIK knockdown diminished the proapoptotic effects of the MLN4924/cisplatin combination. Administration of MLN4924 to mice bearing ovarian tumor xenografts significantly increased the efficacy of cisplatin against both cisplatin-sensitive and -resistant tumors. Conclusions: Our collective data provide a rationale for the clinical investigation of NEDD8-activating enzyme (NAE) inhibition as a novel strategy to augment cisplatin efficacy in patients with ovarian cancer and other malignancies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3577-3590
Number of pages14
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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