Alternative pathways of programmed cell death are activated in cells with defective caspase-dependent apoptosis
Loss of programmed cell death pathways is one of the features of malignancy that complicate the response of cancer cells to a therapy. Activation of alternative cell death pathways offers a promising approach to enhance efficiency of cancer chemotherapy. We analysed programmed cell death pathways of v-myb-transformed BM2 monoblasts induced by arsenic trioxide, cycloheximide and camptothecin with U937 promonocytes as a reference cell line. We show that induced death of BM2 cells is not executed by caspases but rather by alternative cell death pathways. Camptothecin induces the lysosome-dependent cell death, arsenic trioxide induces autophagy, and most of cycloheximidetreated BM2 cells die by necrosis. The fact that alternative cell death pathways can be switched in cells with defects in activation and/or function of caspases suggests that understanding and targeting of these pathways could improve therapy of cancer cells suffering from defective apoptosis. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.