Inhibition of SRC/FAK cue: A novel pathway for the synergistic effect of rosuvastatin on the anti-cancer effect of dasatinib in hepatocellular carcinoma

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Statins extended their hypocholestremic effect to show a promising anticancer activity. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the third common cause of cancer-related death, responded positively to statins. Some in-vitro studies reveal the rosuvastatin antitumor effect, but barely in-vivo studies. Hence, we evaluated the antitumor potential of rosuvastatin in a HCC model, the possible signaling cues involved, and whether it augments the dasatinib anticancer effect.


For the in-vitro study, the IC50 and the combination (CI)/dose reduction (DRI) indices were determined for HCC cell line (HepG2) treated with dasatinib and/or rosuvastatin. For the in-vivo study, mice with diethylnitrosamine-induced HCC were treated for 21 days with dasatinib and/or rosuvastatin (10 and 20 mg/kg, respectively). The p-focal adhesion kinase/p-rous sarcoma oncogene cellular homolog (p-FAK/p-Src) cascade and its downstream molecules were assessed.


The in-vitro study confirmed the synergistic effect of rosuvastatin with dasatinib, which entailed the in-vivo results. The two drugs decreased the p-FAK/p-Src cue along with p-Ras/c-Raf, p-STAT-3, and p-Akt levels to enhance apoptosis by an increase in caspase-3 level and a decline in survivin level. Additionally, they inhibited HGF, VEGF, and the MMP-9. Moreover, the different treatments downregulated the expression of proliferative cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and Ki-67. The best effect was mediated by the combination regimen that surpassed the effect of either drug alone.


Our results highlighted some of the signals involved in rosuvastatin antitumor effect and nominate it as an adds-on therapy with dasatinib to yield a better effect in HCC through inhibiting the FAK/Src cascade.

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