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Br J Cancer. 1999 July; 80(9): 1350–1358.
PMCID: PMC2363080

Inhibition of proliferation and induction of apoptosis in soft tissue sarcoma cells by interferon-α and retinoids


Uncontrolled proliferation and a defect of apoptosis constitute crucial elements in the development and progression of tumours. Among many other biological response modifiers known to influence these mechanisms, the efficacy of retinoids and interferons in the treatment of various malignant entities is currently matter of discussion. In the present study, we have investigated the effects of 9-cis-retinoic acid (9cRA), 13-cis-retinoic acid (13cRA), all-trans-retinoic acid (tRA) and interferon-α on proliferation and apoptosis of human soft tissue sarcoma (STS) cell lines HTB-82 (rhabdomyosarcoma), HTB-91 (fibrosarcoma), HTB-92 (liposarcoma), HTB-93 (synovial sarcoma) and HTB-94 (chondrosarcoma) in relation to p53 genotype as well as p53 expression. HTB-91, HTB-92 and HTB-94 STS cells exhibited mutant p53, whereas wild-type p53 was found in HTB-93 STS cells, and a normal p53 status in HTB-82 STS cells, carrying a silent point mutation only. Interferon-α, irrespective of p53 status, inhibited the proliferation of all five cell lines dose- and time-dependently. Similarly, 9cRA, 13cRA and tRA decreased the proliferation of HTB-82 and HTB-93 STS cells, whereas the proliferation of p53-mutated HTB-91, HTB-92 and HTB-94 STS cells remained unchanged. Furthermore, only 9cRA and tRA were capable of inducing apoptosis in HTB-82 and HTB-93 STS cells, whereas HTB-91, HTB-92 and HTB-94 STS cells did not undergo apoptosis under the influence of 9cRA or tRA. Retinoic acid receptor (RAR)-α and RAR-β mRNA were not detectable by Northern blot analysis in the five STS cell lines, whereas mRNA for the universal retinoic acid receptor, RAR-γ, was expressed in all STS cell lines indicating that retinoid resistance was not associated with a lack of RAR expression. Apoptosis was not induced by interferon-α or 13cRA in any of the five STS cell lines tested. Our results indicate that within the panel of tested STS cell lines, inhibition of proliferation and induction of apoptosis result from different mechanisms which differ in their dependence upon the presence of intact p53. © 1999 Cancer Research Campaign

Keywords: apoptosis, soft tissue sarcoma, interferon-α, retinoids, p53

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Selected References

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