Blocking the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition pathway abrogates resistance to anti-folate chemotherapy in lung cancer.

Shun-Qing, Liang; Marti, Thomas; Dorn, Patrick; Froment, Laurène; Hall, Sean; Berezowska, Sabina Anna; Kocher, Gregor; Schmid, Ralph; Peng, Renwang (2015). Blocking the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition pathway abrogates resistance to anti-folate chemotherapy in lung cancer. Cell death & disease, 6(e1824), e1824. Nature Publishing Group 10.1038/cddis.2015.195

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Anticancer therapies currently used in the clinic often can neither eradicate the tumor nor prevent disease recurrence due to tumor resistance. In this study, we showed that chemoresistance to pemetrexed, a multi-target anti-folate (MTA) chemotherapeutic agent for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), is associated with a stem cell-like phenotype characterized by an enriched stem cell gene signature, augmented aldehyde dehydrogenase activity and greater clonogenic potential. Mechanistically, chemoresistance to MTA requires activation of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) pathway in that an experimentally induced EMT per se promotes chemoresistance in NSCLC and inhibition of EMT signaling by kaempferol renders the otherwise chemoresistant cancer cells susceptible to MTA. Relevant to the clinical setting, human primary NSCLC cells with an elevated EMT signaling feature a significantly enhanced potential to resist MTA, whereas concomitant administration of kaempferol abrogates MTA chemoresistance, regardless of whether it is due to an intrinsic or induced activation of the EMT pathway. Collectively, our findings reveal that a bona fide activation of EMT pathway is required and sufficient for chemoresistance to MTA and that kaempferol potently regresses this chemotherapy refractory phenotype, highlighting the potential of EMT pathway inhibition to enhance chemotherapeutic response of lung cancer.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Gastro-intestinal, Liver and Lung Disorders (DMLL) > Clinic of Thoracic Surgery
04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Pathology > Clinical Pathology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > BioMedical Research (DBMR) > Forschungsbereich Mu50 > Forschungsgruppe Thoraxchirurgie

Graduate School:

Graduate School for Cellular and Biomedical Sciences (GCB)

UniBE Contributor:

Shun-Qing, Liang, Marti, Thomas, Dorn, Patrick, Froment, Laurène, Hall, Sean, Berezowska, Sabina Anna, Kocher, Gregor, Schmid, Ralph, Peng, Ren-Wang


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology




Nature Publishing Group




Thomas Michael Marti

Date Deposited:

23 Mar 2016 07:45

Last Modified:

02 Mar 2023 23:27

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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