Senescent cells within the tumor microenvironment (TME) adopt a proinflammatory, senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) that promotes cancer initiation, progression, and therapeutic resistance. Here, exposure to palbociclib (PD-0332991), a CDK4/6 inhibitor, induces senescence and a robust SASP in normal fibroblasts. Senescence caused by prolonged CDK4/6 inhibition is DNA damage–independent and associated with Mdm2 downregulation, whereas the SASP elicited by these cells is largely reliant upon NF-κB activation. Based upon these observations, it was hypothesized that the exposure of nontransformed stromal cells to PD-0332991 would promote tumor growth. Ongoing clinical trials of CDK4/6 inhibitors in melanoma prompted a validation of this hypothesis using a suite of genetically defined melanoma cells (i.e., Ras mutant, Braf mutant, and Ras/Braf wild-type). When cultured in the presence of CDK4/6i-induced senescent fibroblasts, melanoma cell lines exhibited genotype-dependent proliferative responses. However, in vivo, PD-0332991–treated fibroblasts enhanced the growth of all melanoma lines tested and promoted the recruitment of Gr-1–positive immune cells. These data indicate that prolonged CDK4/6 inhibitor treatment causes normal fibroblasts to enter senescence and adopt a robust SASP. Such senescent cells suppress the antitumor immune response and promote melanoma growth in immunocompetent, in vivo models.
Implications: The ability of prolonged CDK4/6 inhibitor treatment to induce cellular senescence and a robust SASP in primary cells may hinder therapeutic efficacy and promote long-term, gerontogenic consequences that should be considered in clinical trials aiming to treat melanoma and other cancer types. Mol Cancer Res; 15(3); 237–49. ©2016 AACR.
This article is featured in Highlights of This Issue, p. 235
Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Molecular Cancer Research Online (http://mcr.aacrjournals.org/).
- Received September 20, 2016.
- Revision received December 6, 2016.
- Accepted December 8, 2016.
- ©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.