Gene deletion chemoselectivity: codeletion of the genes for p16(INK4), methylthioadenosine phosphorylase, and the alpha- and beta-interferons in human pancreatic cell carcinoma lines and its implications for chemotherapy.
Pancreatic carcinoma cells lines are known to have a high incidence of homozygous deletion of the candidate tumor suppressor gene p16 (MTS1/CDKN2), which resides in the chromosome 9p21 region. Here we: (a)examined a series of these cell lines for the incidence of codeletion of genes located near p16, in particular, the gene for the enzyme 5'-deoxy-5'-methylthioadenosine phosphorylase (MTAP) and the genes of the IFN-alpha and -beta cluster (IFNs); and (b) investigated whether therapeutic strategies could be developed that target malignant cells that have undergone the codeletion of such genes. Five of the eight pancreatic carcinoma cell lines were p16(-), MTAP was codeleted in all five cases. Because MTAP phosphorolyzes 5'-deoxy-5'-methylthioadenosine (MTA), generated as a byproduct of polyamine synthesis, to the salvageable purine base adenine, loss of this pathway in p16(-), MTAP(-) cells might sensitize these cells to methotrexate (MTX), the mechanism of action of which involves, in part, an inhibition of purine de novo synthesis. MTAP(+) normal keratinocytes and pancreatic carcinoma lines had relatively poor sensitivity, in terms of efficacy, to the purine nucleotide-starving actions of MTX. This may be in part due to the MTAP-dependent salvage of adenine moieties from endogenously generated MTA, because the MTAP inhibitor 5'-chloro-5'-de- oxyformycin A potentiates the antipurine actions of MTX in some of these MTAP(+) lines. Also, exogenous MTA (10 microM) reverses the growth-inhibitory actions of MTX in these lines. In contrast, MTAP(-) cell lines, which cannot recycle purines from endogenous MTA, have a relatively high sensitivity to the antipurine actions of MTX, which is not modulated by 5'-chloro-5'-deoxyformycin A or exogenous MTA. Thus the MTAP loss in malignant cells may be an example of gene deletion chemoselectivity, in which genetic deletions that occur as part of the oncogenic process render these cells more sensitive to particular anticancer agents than normal cells, which have not undergone such deletions. We also examined whether the loss of IFN genes sensitize cells to the growth-inhibitory actions of these cytokines. Three of the five p16(-) cell lines bore homozygous deletions of IFNA1 and IFNB1 genes, representing each end of the IFN-alpha,-beta gene cluster; one cell line bore a codeletion of the IFNA1 gene but retained the IFNB1 locus. Whereas the cell lines that were most sensitive to the growth-inhibitory effects of IFN-beta or IFN-alpha(2b), tended to be those with IFN deletions, there were enough exceptions to this pattern to indicate that the IFN genotype does not reliably predict IFN responsiveness.