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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Abstract

Purpose:

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.

Method:

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.

Results:

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.

Conclusion:

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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