L-Asparaginase (L-ASP), a bacterial enzyme used since the 1970s to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia, selectively starves cells that cannot synthesize sufficient asparagine for their own needs. Molecular profiling of the NCI-60 cancer cell lines using five different microarray platforms showed strong negative correlations of asparagine synthetase (ASNS) expression and DNA copy number with sensitivity to L-ASP in the leukemia and ovarian cancer cell subsets. To assess whether the ovarian relationship is causal, we used RNA interference to silence ASNS in three ovarian lines and observed 4- to 5-fold potentiation of sensitivity to L-ASP with two of the lines. For OVCAR-8, the line that expresses the least ASNS, the potentiation was > 500-fold. Significantly, that potentiation was > 700-fold in the multidrug-resistant derivative OVCAR-8/ADR, showing that the causal relationship between ASNS expression and L-ASP activity survives development of classical multidrug resistance. Tissue microarrays confirmed low ASNS expression in a subset of clinical ovarian cancers as well as other tumor types. Overall, this pharmaeogenomic/ pharmacoproteomic study suggests the use Of L-ASP for treatment of a subset of ovarian cancers (and perhaps other tumor types), with ASNS as a blomarker for patient selection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research