Metformin enhances cisplatin induced inhibition of cholangiocarcinoma cells via AMPK-mTOR pathway

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Aims:AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) functions as a cellular energy sensor regulating various aspects of cellular metabolism. Metformin (Met), an activator of AMPK, has been reported to reduce the cancer risk and enhance antitumor effects in certain cancers. Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) is an aggressive malignancy which rarely responds to chemotherapeutic agents. We investigated the chemosensitizing effects of Met in CCA cells.Materials and methods:KKU-100 and KKU-452 cells were used in the study. Antiproliferation of Met and cisplatin (Cis) was analyzed by sulforhodamine B and colony forming assays. Apoptotic cell death was analyzed by acridine orange and ethidium bromide staining method. Cell cycle analysis was performed by flow cytometric method. Effects on cell migration and invasion were analyzed by wound healing assay and transwell chamber method. Expression of proteins was examined by western blot analysis.Key findings:Met enhanced the antiproliferation of Cis, and conferred antimigration and anti-invasion in CCA cells, where Cis alone did not have two latter effects. This chemosensitizing effect is related to the activation of AMPK and suppression of Akt, mTOR and p70S6K. Met and Cis increased expression of p53 and p21 and suppressed expression of cyclin D1. This effect was associated with cell cycle arrest at S phase. The anti-invasion effect was casually associated with the suppression of FAK expression. The cytotoxic effect of the drug combination was mimicked by AICAR, an AMPK agonist.Significance:Met may be a novel agent to increase the efficacy of Cis to treat CCA.

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