Ewing's sarcoma family tumors are sensitive to tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand and express death receptor 4 and death receptor 5.Cancer Res. 2001 Mar 15; 61(6):2704-12.CR
In this study, we investigated the sensitivity of Ewing's sarcoma family tumors (ESFTs) of children and adolescents to the tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing Ligand (TRAIL). TRAIL binds to death receptors (DRs) DR4, DR5, DcR1, and DcR2. Either DR4 or DR5 can induce apoptosis, whereas DcR1 and DcR2 are considered inhibitory receptors. Nine of 10 ESFT cell lines, including several that were Fas resistant, underwent apoptosis with TRAIL through activation of caspase-10, capase-8 (FLICE), caspase-3, and caspase-9. In contrast to the Fas signaling pathway, caspase-10, but not caspase-8 or the Fas-associated death domain-containing molecule, was recruited to the TRAIL receptor-associated signaling complex. We found that 9 of 10 ESFT cell lines expressed both DR4 and DR5 by Western blotting, whereas the TRAIL-resistant line expressed only DR4. However, DR4 was absent from the cell surface in the resistant and two additional lines (three of five tested lines), suggesting that it may have been nonfunctional. On the contrary, DR5 was located on the cell surface in all four sensitive lines tested, being absent only from the cell surface of the resistant line that was also DR5-negative by Western blotting. In agreement with these findings, the resistance of the line was overcome by restoration of DR5 levels by transfection. Levels of DcR1 and DcR2 or levels of the FLICE-inhibitory protein (FLIP) did not correlate with TRAIL resistance, and protein synthesis inhibition did not sensitize the TRAIL-resistant line to TRAIL. Because these data suggested that sensitivity of ESFTs to TRAIL was mainly based on the presence of DR4/DR5, we investigated the presence of these receptors in 32 ESFT tissue sections by immunohistochemistry. We found that 23 of 32 tumor tissues (72%) expressed both receptors, 8 of 32 (25%) expressed one receptor only, and 1 was negative for both. Our finding of wide expression of DR4/DR5 in ESFT in vivo, in combination with their high sensitivity to TRAIL in vitro and the reported lack of toxicity of TRAIL in mice and monkeys, suggests that TRAIL may be a novel effective agent in the treatment of ESFTs.