Gold(III) compound is a novel chemocytotoxic agent for hepatocellular carcinoma

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Recently, a series of gold(III) meso-tetraarylporphyrins that are stable against demetallation in physiological conditions have been synthesized. In the present study, the antitumor effects of one of these compounds, gold(III) meso-tetraarylporphyrin 1a (gold-1a) was investigated in an orthotopic rat hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) model as well as using a HCC cell line. The rat HCC model was induced by injection of rat hepatoma cells, McA-RH7777, into the left lobe of the liver. Seven days after tumor cell inoculation, gold-1a was injected directly into the tumor nodule at different doses, followed by the same dosesviaintraperitoneal injection twice a week. Gold-1a administration significantly prolonged the survival of HCC-bearing rats. Importantly, gold-1a induced necrosis as well as apoptosis in the tumor tissues, but not in the normal liver tissues. Furthermore, gold-1a treatment neither caused significant drop in body weight of the rats nor affected plasma aspartate aminotransferase level. In thein vitrostudies, we observed that gold-1a treatment inhibited the proliferation of McA-RH7777 cells. Gold-1a upregulated genes that increase apoptosis, stabilizep53, decrease proliferation and downregulated genes playing roles in angiogenesis, invasion, and metabolism, as demonstrated by microarray. In particular, the compound upregulated 2 members of the growth arrest and DNA damage (Gadd) inducible gene family,Gadd34andGadd153. Suppression ofGadd34andGadd153in McA-RH7777 cells by small hairpin RNA reduced the gold-1a-induced apoptosis and growth inhibition, indicating that gold-1a mediated its effectsviaupregulation ofGadd34andGadd153. Results from our study demonstrated that gold-1a might be a novel promising chemocytotoxic agent for treating HCC.

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