Cancer cell sensitization to Fas-mediated apoptosis by sodium butyrate


Cancer cells often resist Fas-mediated apoptosis even when the Fas receptor is expressed at the cell surface. We show here that human and rat colon cancer cells undergo massive apoptosis when they are exposed to soluble Fas ligand in the presence of sodium butyrate, an agent that induces by itself only a low rate of apoptosis. Sodium butyrate potentiates Fas-dependent apoptosis in seven out of eight colon cancer cell lines. Sodium butyrate does not increase Fas receptor cell surface expression and does not modify cell levels of Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, Bcl-xS and Bax. Sodium butyrate also induces tumor cell sensitization to the apoptotic effect of the combination of TNF-α and IFN-γ, but it does not modify the level of the FADD/Mort1 adaptator molecule, at the connection between Fas- and TNF-dependent apoptosis pathways. Because the clinical toxicity of butyrate is low, its ability to enhance Fas-signal delivery in cancer cells could be of therapeutic interest.

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Correspondence to François Martin.

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Edited by M. Piacentini

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Bonnotte, B., Favre, N., Reveneau, S. et al. Cancer cell sensitization to Fas-mediated apoptosis by sodium butyrate. Cell Death Differ 5, 480–487 (1998).

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  • apoptosis
  • colorectal cancer
  • Fas
  • sodium butyrate

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