Targeting Apoptosis to Overcome Cisplatin Resistance: A Translational Study in Head and Neck Cancer

Joshua A. Bauer, Bhavna Kumar, Kitrina G. Cordell, Mark E. Prince, Huong H. Tran, Gregory T. Wolf, Douglas B. Chepeha, Theodoros N. Teknos, Steven Wang, Avraham Eisbruch, Christina I. Tsien, Susan G. Urba, Francis P. Worden, Julia Lee, Kent A. Griffith, Jeremy M.G. Taylor, Nisha D'Silva, Shaomeng J. Wang, Keith G. Wolter, Bradley HensonSusan G. Fisher, Thomas E. Carey, Carol R. Bradford

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    29 Scopus citations


    Purpose: Cisplatin resistance remains a barrier to organ-sparing and survival of patients with advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Targeted therapies to overcome cisplatin-resistant HNSCC are being developed. Methods and Materials: Cisplatin-sensitive parental HNSCC cell lines and cisplatin-resistant progeny were studied. Pretreatment HNSCC biopsies were used to construct tissue microarrays which were stained for p53 and Bcl-xL. Results: HNSCC cell lines selected for cisplatin resistance had wild-type p53 and high levels of Bcl-xL. Expression of wild-type p53 in cell lines with low Bcl-xL enhanced cisplatin sensitivity. Expression of both Bcl-xL and wild-type p53 caused tumor cells to become cisplatin resistant. Patients whose tumors expressed low levels of p53 and Bcl-xL enjoyed the best organ preservation and disease-free survival whereas patients whose tumors expressed low levels of p53 and high levels of Bcl-xL had the worst outcome. Novel agents that inhibit Bcl-xL or activate p53 function may target cisplatin-resistant HNSCC. Conclusion: Cisplatin resistance in HNSCC is mediated, at least in part, by high Bcl-xL and functional p53.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)S106-S108
    JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
    Issue number2 SUPPL.
    StatePublished - Oct 1 2007


    • Chemoradiation
    • Head and neck cancer
    • Larynx preservation
    • Predictive markers


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