PURPOSE. The study had two purposes: to examine the expression of tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) receptors on uveal melanoma cells and metastases arising from uveal melanoma and to determine the susceptibility of uveal melanoma cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis. METHODS. Nine human uveal melanoma cell lines and three cell lines derived from uveal melanoma metastases were examined for TRAIL receptor expression by flow cytometry. In vitro apoptosis assays were performed to determine the relative susceptibility of uveal melanoma cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis. Annexin V staining was also used to determine the capacity of either cycloheximide or interferon-β to enhance TRAIL-induced apoptosis. RESULTS. Five of the nine uveal melanoma cell lines expressed TRAIL-R2 on more than 60% of the cells. All three of the cell lines derived from uveal melanoma metastases expressed TRAIL-R2 on more than 50% of the cells. Cycloheximide exerted a profound effect in enhancing TRAIL-induced apoptosis in all but two of the uveal melanoma cell lines and in all three of the metastases cell lines. Interferon-β produced a similar enhancement of TRAIL-induced apoptosis, even in cell lines that were previously shown to be resistant. CONCLUSIONS. TRAIL is a potentially useful therapeutic modality for the management of uveal melanomas and their metastases. Moreover, pharmacological agents and biological response modifiers that independently display antineoplastic properties can enhance TRAIL-induced apoptosis in resistant uveal melanoma cells.
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