McCann et al. published in The FEBS Journal

March 5, 2021

Development of a protein signature to enable clinical positioning of IAP inhibitors in colorectal cancer

C. McCann, A. Matveeva, K. McAllister, T. Sessler, M. Fichtner, S. Carberry, M. Rehm, J. Prehn, and D. Longley.


Resistance to chemotherapy‐induced cell death is a major barrier to effective treatment of solid tumors such as colorectal cancer, CRC. Herein, we present a study aimed at developing a proteomics‐based predictor of response to standard‐of‐care (SoC) chemotherapy in combination with antagonists of IAPs (inhibitors of apoptosis proteins), which have been implicated as mediators of drug resistance in CRC. We quantified the absolute expression of 19 key apoptotic proteins at baseline in a panel of 12 CRC cell lines representative of the genetic diversity seen in this disease to identify which proteins promote resistance or sensitivity to a model IAP antagonist (Birinapant) alone and in combination with SoC chemotherapy (5‐FU plus Oxaliplatin). Quantitative Western Blotting demonstrated heterogeneous expression of IAP interactome proteins across the CRC cell line panel, and cell death analyses revealed a widely varied response to Birinapant/chemotherapy combinations. Baseline protein expression of cIAP1, caspase‐8 and RIPK1 expression robustly correlated with response to Birinapant/chemotherapy combinations. Classifying cell lines into ‘responsive’, ‘intermediate’ and ‘resistant’ groups and using Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA) enabled identification of a 12 protein signature that separated responders to Birinapant/chemotherapy combinations in the CRC cell line panel with 100% accuracy. Moreover, the LDA model was able to predict response accurately when cells were co‐cultured with TNFα to mimic a pro‐inflammatory tumour microenvironment. Thus, our study provides the starting point for a proteomics‐based companion diagnostic that predicts response to IAP antagonist/SoC chemotherapy combinations in CRC.


doi: 10.1111/febs.15801

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