Background: Despite the important role of radiotherapy in cancer treatment, a subset of patients responds poorly to treatment majorly due to radioresistance. Particularly the role of radiotherapy has not been established in gastric cancer (GC). Herein, we aimed to identify a radiosensitivity gene signature and to discover relevant targets to enhance radiosensitivity in GC cells. Methods: An oligonucleotide microarray (containing 22,740 probes) was performed in 12 GC cell lines prior to radiation. A clonogenic assay was performed to evaluate the survival fraction at 2 Gy (SF2) as a surrogate marker for radiosensitivity. Genes differentially expressed (fold change > 6, q-value < 0.025) were identified between radiosensitive and radioresistant cell lines, and quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) was performed for validation. Gene set and pathway analyses were performed using Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA). Results: Radiosensitive (SF2 < 0.4) and radioresistant cell lines (SF2 ≥ 0.6) exhibited a marked difference in gene expression. We identified 68 genes that are differentially expressed between radiosensitive and radioresistant cell lines. The identified genes showed interactions via AKT, HIF1A, TGFB1, and TP53, and their functions were associated with the genetic networks associated with cellular growth and proliferation, cellular movement, and cell cycle. The Akt signaling pathway exhibited the highest association with radiosensitivity. Combinatorial treatment with MK-2206, an allosteric Akt inhibitor, and radiotherapy significantly increased cell death compared with radiotherapy alone in two radioresistant cell lines (YCC-2 and YCC-16). Conclusion: We identified a GC-specific radiosensitivity gene signature and suggest that the Akt signaling pathway could serve as a therapeutic target for GC radiosensitization.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding. This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea Government (MSIT; 2020R1A2B5B02001452 to SR; No. 2019R1C1C1006709; and No. 2018R1A5A2025079 to HK), a fund (2017-NI72002-00) by the Research of Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research