Table of Contents
Molecular Biology International
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 263267, 6 pages
Research Article

RASSF1A and the Taxol Response in Ovarian Cancer

1J.G. Brown Cancer Center, University of Louisville, 417 CTR Building, 505 S. Hancock Street, Louisville, KY 40202, USA
2Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA

Received 5 January 2012; Revised 31 January 2012; Accepted 1 February 2012

Academic Editor: Farida Latif

Copyright © 2012 Susannah Kassler et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The RASSF1A tumor suppressor gene is frequently inactivated by promoter methylation in human tumors. The RASSF1A protein forms an endogenous complex with tubulin and promotes the stabilization of microtubules. Loss of RASSF1A expression sensitizes cells to microtubule destabilizing stimuli. We have observed a strong correlation between the loss of RASSF1A expression and the development of Taxol resistance in primary ovarian cancer samples. Thus, we sought to determine if RASSF1A levels could dictate the response to Taxol and whether an epigenetic therapy approach might be able to reverse the Taxol resistant phenotype of RASSF1A negative ovarian tumor cells. We found that knocking down RASSF1A expression in an ovarian cancer cell line inhibited Taxol-mediated apoptosis and promoted cell survival during Taxol treatment. Moreover, using a combination of small molecule inhibitors of DNA Methyl Transferase enzymes, we were able restore RASSF1A expression and Taxol sensitivity. This identifies a role for RASSF1A in modulating the tumor response to Taxol and provides proof of principal for the use of epigenetic therapy to overcome Taxol resistance.