Authors: Tzeng, Hong-Tai; Yang, Jenq-Lin; Tseng, Yu-Ju; Lee, Chih-Hung; Chen, Wei-Ju; Chyuan, I.-Tsu
Issue: Cancers (Basel) . 2021 Mar 12;13(6):1253.
Autophagy plays a crucial role in maintenance of cellular homeostasis via intracellular signaling pathways, lysosomal degradation of selective cargo and mediating protein secretion. Dysregulation of autophagy has been implicated in tumorigenesis, tumor progression, and resistance to therapy. However, the mechanism of autophagy-dependent secretion involved in the responsiveness to chemotherapy is poorly understood. In this study, we showed that mitoxantrone (MitoX), a chemotherapeutic agent used for treating various cancers but not melanoma, induced autophagy in melanoma cells in vitro and in vivo. We also found that plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI)-1 secretion by MitoX-induced autophagy modulated the pro-tumoral microenvironment. Attenuation of PAI-1 activity using a specific inhibitor, tiplaxtinin (TPX), or by targeting the autophagy gene, Becn1, induced efficient antitumor immunity, thereby overcoming the resistance to MitoX in vivo. Of note, the therapeutic efficacy of TPX was abolished in MitoX-treated Becn1-defective tumors. Collectively, our results demonstrate that tumor autophagy-dependent PAI-1 secretion impairs the therapeutic efficacy of MitoX and highlight targeting of tumor autophagy or its secretory cargo, PAI-1, as a novel strategy to repurpose MitoX-based chemotherapy for melanoma treatment.