Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is one of the most aggressive urological malignancies and has a poor prognosis, especially in patients with metastasis. Although RCC is traditionally considered to be radioresistant, radiotherapy (RT) is still a common treatment for palliative management of metastatic RCC. Novel approaches are urgently needed to overcome radioresistance of RCC. Black phosphorus quantum dots (BPQDs) have recently received great attention due to their unique physicochemical properties and good biocompatibility. In the present study, we found that BPQDs enhance ionizing radiation (IR)-induced apoptotic cell death of RCC cells. BPQDs treatment significantly increases IR-induced DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs), as indicated by the neutral comet assay and the DSBs biomarkers γH2AX and 53BP1. Mechanistically, BPQDs can interact with purified DNA–protein kinase catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs) and promote its kinase activity in vitro. BPQDs impair the autophosphorylation of DNA-PKcs at S2056, and this site phosphorylation is essential for efficient DNA DSBs repair and the release of DNA-PKcs from the damage sites. Consistent with this, BPQDs suppress nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ) repair and lead to sustained high levels of autophosphorylated DNA-PKcs on the damaged sites. Moreover, animal experiments indicate that the combined approach with both BPQDs and IR displays better efficacy than monotreatment. These findings demonstrate that BPQDs have potential applications in radiosensitizing RCC cells.
- black phosphorus quantum dots
- DNA damage repair
- renal cell carcinoma
ASJC Scopus subject areas