Kodym, E., Kodym, R., Choy, H. and Saha, D. Sustained Metaphase Arrest in Response to Ionizing Radiation in a Non-small Cell Lung Cancer Cell Line. Radiat. Res. 169, 46–58 (2008).
In solid tumors, non-apoptotic forms of tumor cell inactivation such as mitotic catastrophe appear to be predominant in the response to DNA-damaging agents. Despite its importance, the underlying molecular mechanisms of mitotic catastrophe have been only partially elucidated. We found that a large fraction of HCC2279 non-small cell lung cancer cells underwent mitotic catastrophe after irradiation. Cells were arrested in metaphase with chromosomal damage indicated by DNA fragments displaced from the metaphase plate and considerable numbers of residual γ-H2AX foci. Although TP53 was nonfunctional, we detected a prompt radiation response on the level of checkpoint kinases. In contrast, CDC25A was the only checkpoint phosphatase that was responsive to radiation. CDC25B was not detectable, and CDC25C was constitutively phosphorylated at serine 216, leading to its cytoplasmic sequestration and functional inactivation. Therefore, radiation-induced mitotic catastrophe in HCC2279 cells appears to be induced by a combination of relative insufficiencies in the p53-mediated and checkpoint kinase-mediated pathways leading to premature entry into mitosis. Displaced chromosome fragments triggering an intra-M checkpoint in cells entering mitosis presumably result in a sustained metaphase arrest. The phenomenon found in these cells, which were derived directly from a human patient, might be responsible for therapy-induced genetic instability of tumors.