Inhibition of Bcl-2 family members sensitises soft tissue leiomyosarcomas to chemotherapy


Leiomyosarcoma is an aggressive soft tissue sarcoma with a 5-year survival rate of 15 to 60%. Treatment options for inoperable or metastatic patients are limited owing to frequent resistance of tumours to chemotherapy and radiation. In this study, we hypothesised that antiapoptotic Bcl-2 family proteins might contribute to leiomyosarcoma chemoresistance and therefore inhibition of Bcl-2 family proteins might sensitise leiomyosarcomas to conventional chemotherapy.


Expression of the Bcl-2 family proteins Bcl-xL, Bcl-w and Bcl-2 was investigated using immunohistochemistry on a tissue microarray containing 43 leiomyosarcomas. Furthermore, we investigated whether ABT-737, a potent BH3 mimetic, sensitises leiomyosarcoma cells to doxorubicin treatment in vitro.


Seventy-seven per cent, 84% and 42% of leiomyosarcomas demonstrated high expression of Bcl-2, Bcl-xL and Bcl-w, respectively. Single-agent treatment with ABT-737 resulted in a minor reduction of cell viability. However, combination treatment of ABT-737 and doxorubicin revealed synergism in all four cell lines, by inducing apoptosis.


In conclusion, Bcl-2 family proteins contribute to soft tissue leiomyosarcoma chemoresistance. Antiapoptotic proteins are highly expressed in leiomyosarcoma of soft tissue, and inhibition of these proteins using a BH3 mimetic increases leiomyosarcoma sensitivity to doxorubicin.

Related Products

Cat.No. Product Name Information
S1002 ABT-737 ABT-737 is a BH3 mimetic inhibitor of Bcl-xL, Bcl-2 and Bcl-w with EC50 of 78.7 nM, 30.3 nM and 197.8 nM in cell-free assays, respectively; no inhibition observed against Mcl-1, Bcl-B or Bfl-1. ABT-737 induces mitochondrial pathway apoptosis and mitophagy. Phase 2.

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Bcl-2 Autophagy