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Agents that target topoisomerase I are widely utilized to treat human cancer. Previous studies have indicated that both the ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM)/ checkpoint kinase (Chk) 2 and ATM- and Rad 3-related (ATR)/Chk1 checkpoint pathways are activated after treatment with these agents. The relative contributions of these two pathways to survival of cells after treatment with topoisomerase I poisons are currently unknown. To address this issue, we assessed the roles of ATR, Chk1, ATM, and Chk2 in cells treated with the topoisomerase I poisons camptothecin and 7-ethyl-10-hydroxycamptothecin (SN-38), the active metabolite of irinotecan. Colony forming assays demonstrated that down-regulation of ATR or Chk1 sensitized cells to SN-38 and camptothecin. In contrast, ATM and Chk2 had minimal effect of sensitivity to SN-38 or camptothecin. Additional experiments demonstrated that the Hsp90 inhibitor 17-allylamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin, which down-regulates Chk1, also sensitized a variety of human carcinoma cell lines to SN-38. Collectively, these results show that the ATR/Chk1 pathway plays a predominant role in the response to topoisomerase I inhibitors in carcinoma cells and identify a potential approach for enhancing the efficacy of these drugs.

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© 2005 ASBMB. Currently published by Elsevier Inc; originally published by American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.