Resistance to glucocorticoid-induced apoptosis in human T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia CEM-C1 cells is due to insufficient glucocorticoid receptor expression

S Geley, B L Hartmann, M Hala, E M Strasser-Wozak, K Kapelari, R Kofler
1996 Cancer Research  
The ability of glucocorticoids (GCs) to induce death in lymphoid-origin cells is the basis for their frequent use in the therapy of various human hematological malignancies. However, the occurrence of primary or secondary GC resistance limits their clinical usefulness. Prior investigations into the mechanism of GC resistance in established human leukemic cell lines revealed loss-of-function mutations in the GC receptor (GR) gene. In this study, we analyzed the GC-resistant human acute T-cell
more » ... kemia line CEM-C1, which has been reported to express biochemically functional GR and, thus, was thought to owe its GC resistance to signal transduction changes distal from the GR. Radioligand binding assays revealed a 2-3-fold lower expression of GR in CEM-C1 than in the GC-sensitive sister cell line CEM-C7H2. Analysis of transcriptional activity using mouse mammary tumor virus-long terminal repeat-controlled chloramphenicol acetyltransferase expression in transient transfection assays confirmed the expression of functional GR in CEM-C1 but at levels lower than those in CEM-C7H2 cells. Upon molecular analyses of the GR gene and its transcripts, we found that CEM-C1 cells were heterozygous for the ligand binding domain L753F point mutation in exon 9, which is also present in GC-sensitive CEM-C7H2. No mutations, however, were found on the second GR allele of CEM-C1. To test the possibility that resistance in CEM-C1 cells might be caused by insufficient expression of GR, we established several cell lines stably transfected with rat GR expression vectors. These cell lines differed in exogenous GR expression as determined by Northern blotting and radioligand binding assays. The GR expression level in individual lines correlated well with their sensitivity to GC-induced apoptosis. Thus, GC resistance of CEM-C1 cells might be due to subthreshold expression of functional GR rather than defects in signal transduction pathways distal from the GR. Since several clinical investigations showed a correlation between reduced GR expression and poor response to GC-containing treatment, the CEM-C1 line may represent a valid model for GC resistance in human acute T-cell leukemia.
pmid:8895760 fatcat:zguvcormhrh4hn62pnsg7rgqni