Research Summary: Dexamethasone Reduces Sensitivity to Cisplatin by Blunting p53-Dependent Cellular Senescence in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer



Dexamethasone (DEX) co-treatment has proved beneficial in NSCLC patients, improving clinical symptoms by the reduction of side effects after chemotherapy. However, recent studies have shown that DEX could render cancer cells more insensitive to cytotoxic drug therapy, but it is not known whether DEX co-treatment could influence therapy-induced senescence (TIS), and unknown whether it is in a p53-dependent or p53-independent manner.


We examined in different human NSCLC cell lines and detected cellular senescence after cisplatin (DDP) treatment in the presence or absence of DEX. The in vivo effect of the combination of DEX and DDP was assessed by tumor growth experiments using human lung cancer cell lines growing as xenograft tumors in nude mice.


Co-treatment with DEX during chemotherapy in NSCLC resulted in increased tumor cell viability and inhibition of TIS compared with DDP treated group. DEX co-treatment cells exhibited the decrease of DNA damage signaling pathway proteins, the lower expression of p53 and p21CIP1, the lower cellular secretory program and down-regulation of NF-κB and its signaling cascade. DEX also significantly reduced DDP sensitivity in vivo.


Our results underscore that DEX reduces chemotherapy sensitivity by blunting therapy induced cellular senescence after chemotherapy in NSCLC, which may, at least in part, in a p53-dependent manner. These data therefore raise concerns about the widespread combined use of gluocorticoids (GCs) with antineoplastic drugs in the clinical management of cancer patients.


Publisher: Public Library of Science

Date Published: 18-December-2012

Author(s): Ge H., Ni S., Wang X., Xu N., Liu Y., Wang X., Wang L., Song D., Song Y., Bai C.


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