Shikonin enhances sensitization of gefitinib against wild-type EGFR non-small cell lung cancer via inhibition PKM2/stat3/cyclinD1 signal pathway

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Aims:Mutant EGFR Non-small cell lung cancer has benefit from gefitinib, but it has limited effect for wild-type EGFR tumors. Shikonin, a natural naphthoquinone isolated from a traditional Chinese medicine, the plant Lithospermum erythrorhizon (zicao), not only can inhibit the tumor growth, but also overcome cancer drug resistance. Our aim is to investigate whether shikonin can enhance antitumor effect of gefitinib in EGFR wild-type lung cancer cells in vitro and in vivo.Materials and methods:CCK-8 was used to determine the proliferation of EGFR wild-type non-small cell lung cancer. Apoptosis and cell cycle were detected by flow cytometry. PKM2, STAT3, p-STAT3 and cyclinD1 were detected by Western blot. A549 tumor model was established to observe the antitumor effect of shikonin combination with gefitinib in vivo.Key findings:The results showed that combination of shikonin with gefitinib exhibited synergistic antitumor effect in vitro and in vivo. Its potential molecular mechanisms may be associated with inhibition of PKM2/STAT3/cyclinD1.Significance:These results provide a promising therapeutic approach for the treatment of wild-type EGFR non-small cell lung cancer.

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