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Mol Cancer Ther. 2012 Oct;11(10):2284-93. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-12-0093. Epub 2012 Aug 17.

Sorafenib-induced hepatocellular carcinoma cell death depends on reactive oxygen species production in vitro and in vivo.

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  • 1Laboratoire d'Immunologie, UPRES EA 1833, 27 rue du faubourg St Jacques 75679 Paris cedex 14, France.


Sorafenib is presently the only effective therapy in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Because most anticancer drugs act, at least in part, through the generation of reactive oxygen species, we investigated whether sorafenib can induce an oxidative stress. The effects of sorafenib on intracellular ROS production and cell death were assessed in vitro in human (HepG2) and murine (Hepa 1.6) HCC cell lines and human endothelial cells (HUVEC) as controls. In addition, 26 sera from HCC patients treated by sorafenib were analyzed for serum levels of advanced oxidation protein products (AOPP). Sorafenib significantly and dose-dependently enhanced in vitro ROS production by HCC cells. The SOD mimic MnTBAP decreased sorafenib-induced lysis of HepG2 cells by 20% and of Hepa 1.6 cells by 75% compared with HCC cells treated with 5 mg/L sorafenib alone. MnTBAP significantly enhanced by 25% tumor growth in mice treated by sorafenib. On the other hand, serum levels of AOPP were higher in HCC patients treated by sorafenib than in sera collected before treatment (P < 0.001). An increase in serum AOPP concentration ≥0.2 μmol/L chloramine T equivalent after 15 days of treatment is a predictive factor for sorafenib response with higher progression free survival (P < 0.05) and overall survival rates (P < 0.05). As a conclusion, sorafenib dose-dependently induces the generation of ROS in tumor cells in vitro and in vivo. The sera of Sorafenib-treated HCC patients contain increased AOPP levels that are correlated with the clinical effectiveness of sorafenib and can be used as a marker of effectiveness of the drug. .

©2012 AACR

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