Taxol-induced apoptosis in human SKOV3 ovarian and MCF7 breast carcinoma cells is caspase-3 and caspase-9 independent

R. Ofir, R. Seidman, T. Rabinski, M. Krup, V. Yavelsky, Y. Weinstein, M. Wolfson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


Taxol is used in chemotherapy regimens against breast and ovarian cancer. Treatment of tumor model cell lines with taxol induces apoptosis, but exact mechanism is not sufficiently understood. Our results demonstrate that in response to taxol, various cell types differentially utilize distinct apoptotic pathways. Using MCF7 breast carcinoma cells transfected with caspase-3 gene, we showed that taxol-induced apoptosis occurred in the absence of caspase-3 and caspase-9 activation. Similar results were obtained with ovarian SKOV3 carcinoma cells, expressing high level of endogenous caspase-3. In contrast, staurosporine-induced apoptosis in these cells was accompanied by proteolytic cleavage of pro-caspase-3 and induction of caspase-3 enzymatic activity. The effect of taxol appears to be cell type-specific, since taxol-induced apoptosis in leukemia U937 cells involved caspase-3 activation step. We conclude that a unique caspase-3 and caspase-9 independent pathway is elicited by taxol to induce apoptosis in human ovarian and breast cancinoma cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)636-642
Number of pages7
JournalCell Death and Differentiation
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2002


  • Apoptosis
  • Caspase-3
  • Caspase-9
  • Ovarian carcinoma
  • Taxol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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