Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) cells paradoxically express tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL), a death ligand that, failing to kill CCA cells, instead promotes their tumorigenicity and especially the metastatic behaviors of cell migration and invasion. Second mitochondria-derived activator of caspase (smac) mimetics are promising cancer therapeutic agents that enhance proapoptotic death receptor signaling by causing cellular degradation of inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) proteins. Our aim was to examine the in vitro and in vivo effects of the smac mimetic JP1584 in CCA. Despite JP1584-mediated loss of cellular inhibitor of apoptosis-1 (cIAP-1) and cIAP-2, TRAIL failed to induce apoptosis in KMCH-1, TFK-1, and BDEneu CCA cells; a finding consistent with a down-stream block in death signaling. Because cIAP-1 and cIAP-2 also promote nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) activation by the canonical pathway, the effect of JP1584 on this signaling pathway was examined. Treatment with JP1584 inhibited TRAIL-induced NF-κB activation as well as TRAIL-mediated up-regulation of the NF-κB target gene, matrix metalloproteinase 7 (MMP7). JP1584 also reduced TRAIL-mediated CCA cell migration and invasion in vitro. Finally, in a syngeneic rat orthotopic CCA model, JP1584 administration reduced MMP7 messenger RNA levels and extrahepatic metastases. Conclusion: Although the smac mimetic JP1584 does not sensitize cells to apoptosis, it reduces TRAIL-induced CCA cell metastatic behavior. These data support the emerging concept that IAPs are prometastatic and represent targets for antimetastatic therapies.
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