Appropriate cell cycle checkpoints are essential for the maintenance of normal cells and chemosensitivity of cancer cells. Clear cell adenocarcinoma (CCA) of the ovary is highly resistant to chemotherapy. Hepatocyte nuclear factor-1β (HNF-1β) is known to be overexpressed in CCA, but its role and clinical significance is unclear. We investigated the role of HNF-1β in regulation of the cell cycle in CCA.
To clarify the effects of HNF-1β on cell cycle checkpoints, we compared the cell cycle distribution and the expression of key proteins involved in CCA cells in which HNF-1β had been stably knocked down and in vector-control cell lines after treatment with bleomycin. HNF-1β (+) cells were arrested in G2 phase because of DNA damage.
HNF-1β (−) cells died because of a checkpoint mechanism. G2 arrest of HNF-1β (+) cells resulted from sustained CHK1 activation, a protein that plays a major role in the checkpoint mechanism. HNF-1β (+) cells were treated with a CHK1 inhibitor after bleomycin treatment. Flow cytometric analysis of the cell cycle demonstrated that DNA damage–induced G2-arrested cells were released from the checkpoint and killed by a CHK1 inhibitor.
The chemoresistance of CCA may be due to aberrant retention of the G2 checkpoint through overexpression of HNF-1β. This is the first study demonstrating cell cycle regulation and chemosensitization by a CHK1 inhibitor in CCA.