Purpose: Testicular germ cell tumors (TGCTs) represent one of the few tumor types that are curable by antineoplastic therapy, probably due to the high sensitivity of this neoplasm to induction of apoptosis by chemotherapeutic agents and/or ionizing radiation. Here, we tested cell susceptibility to radiation-induced apoptosis in a panel of TGCT cell lines and attempted to correlate this with the known potentially relevant molecular determinants (p53 gene status and Bcl-2 family proteins) of apoptosis. Methods and Materials: Induction of apoptosis by γ-radiation was morphologically recognized in NT2, NCCIT, S2, and 2102 EP using Hoechst/PI staining and additionally confirmed by Western blot analysis of PARP cleavage. The p53 gene status was estimated by sequence analysis. Expression of p21/WAF/CIP was determined by Northern blot analysis and immunoblotting was used to monitor p53, Bax, Bcl-2, Bcl-x, and Bak protein levels. In vitro colony formation was studied to establish clonogenic survival curves. Results: NT2 and NCCIT appeared to be susceptible for radiation-induced apoptosis, contrasting 2102 EP and S2 which were highly resistant. Sequence analysis showed that NT2, S2, and 2102 EP are homozygous for wild-type p53 (wtp53), whereas NCCIT contains mutant p53 (mtp53). NT2 and 2102 EP cells showed radiation-induced p53 upregulation, while NCCIT (mtp53) and S2 (no p53 protein) cells did not. Consistently, γ-radiation-induced DNA damage resulted in a p53-dependent transactivation of the p21/WAF/CIP gene in NT2 and 2102 EP, but not in mtp53-containing NCCIT cells and p53 nonexpressing S2 cells. Constitutive expression of Bax, Bcl-2, Bcl-x, and Bak was not affected by radiation and showed no correlation with cell susceptibility to radiation- induced apoptosis. A discrepancy was found between apoptosis and reproductive death. Conclusions: The present study revealed that: i) the presence of wtp53 may not be absolutely required for the hypersensitivity for radiation- induced apoptosis in TGCT cell lines, ii) the molecular mechanism underlying the unique radiosensitivity was independent of the expression of Bcl-2 family proteins, and iii) cell susceptibility to apoptosis induction is not sufficiently informative to predict intrinsic radiosensitivity as determined by clonogenic survival.

Bcl-2/Bax protein family, Clonogenic survival, p53, Radiation-induced apoptosis, Testicular germ cell tumors
dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0360-3016(98)00065-0, hdl.handle.net/1765/68616
International Journal of Radiation: Oncology - Biology - Physics
Department of Medical Oncology

Burger, H, Nooter, K, Boersma, A.W.M, Kortland, C.J, van den Berg, A.P, & Stoter, G. (1998). Expression of p53, p21/WAF/CIP, Bcl-2, Bax, Bcl-x, and Bak in radiation- induced apoptosis in testicular germ cell tumor lines. International Journal of Radiation: Oncology - Biology - Physics, 41(2), 415–424. doi:10.1016/S0360-3016(98)00065-0