Purpose: Despite significant progress in cancer research many tumor entities still have an unfavorable prognosis. Activating Transcription Factor 5 (ATF5) is up-regulated in various malignancies and promotes apoptotic resistance. We evaluated the efficacy and mechanisms of the first described synthetic cell-penetrating inhibitor of ATF5 function, CP-d/n-ATF5-S1. Experimental Design: Preclinical drug testing was performed in various treatment-resistant cancer cells and in vivo xenograft models. Results: CP-d/n-ATF5-S1 reduced the transcript levels of several known direct ATF5 targets. It depleted endogenous ATF5 and induced apoptosis across a broad panel of treatment refractory cancer cell lines, sparing non-neoplastic cells. CP-d/n-ATF5-S1 promoted tumor cell apoptotic susceptibility in part by reducing expression of the deubiquitinase Usp9X and lead to diminished levels of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family members Mcl-1 and Bcl-2. In line with this, CP-d/n-ATF5-S1 synergistically enhanced tumor cell apoptosis induced by the BH3-mimetic ABT263 and the death ligand TRAIL. In vivo, CP-d/n-ATF5-S1 attenuated tumor growth as a single compound in melanoma, glioblastoma, prostate cancer and triple-receptor-negative breast cancer xenograft models. Finally, the combination treatment of CP-d/n-ATF5-S1 and ABT263 significantly reduced tumor growth in vivo more efficiently than each reagent on its own. Conclusions: Our data support the idea that CP-d/n-ATF5-S1, administered as a single reagent or in combination with other drugs, holds promise as an innovative, safe and efficient anti-neoplastic agent against treatment-resistant cancers.
- Received November 23, 2015.
- Revision received March 21, 2016.
- Accepted April 9, 2016.
- Copyright ©2016, American Association for Cancer Research.