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J Mol Med (Berl). 2013 Apr;91(4):473-83. doi: 10.1007/s00109-012-0966-0. Epub 2012 Oct 10.

Inhibition of autophagy enhances anticancer effects of bevacizumab in hepatocarcinoma.

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1
Tumor Immunology and Gene Therapy Center, Eastern Hepatobiliary Surgery Hospital, The Second Military Medical University, 225 Changhai Road, Shanghai 200438, People's Republic of China.

Abstract

Angiogenesis inhibitors have long been considered desirable anticancer agents. However, it was found that many tumors could develop resistance to antiangiogenesis inhibitors. Antiangiogenic therapy results in metabolic stress. Autophagy is an important survival mechanism in cancer cells under metabolic stress; however, it remains unknown if autophagy contributes to antiangiogenesis resistance. In this study, we reported that bevacizumab treatment reduced the development of new blood vessels and inhibited cell growth in xenografts of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) tumors. Bevacizumab treatment also upregulated expression of the autophagy-related genes (Beclin1 and LC3) and increased autophagosome formation. Our in vitro studies demonstrated that autophagy inhibition significantly increased apoptosis of HCC cells during nutrient starvation or hypoxia. In addition, the combined treatment of an autophagy inhibitor and bevacizumab markedly inhibited the tumor growth of HCC xenografts, led to enhanced apoptosis, and impaired the proliferation of tumor cells compared with treatment with either drug alone. Furthermore, autophagy inhibition led to enhanced reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in HCC cells exposed to nutrient starvation or hypoxia in vitro and increased DNA oxidative damage in vivo. Antioxidants reduced nutrient starvation or the hypoxia-induced cell death of HCC cells after autophagy inhibition. Our results suggest that autophagy modulates ROS generation and contributes to cell survival under metabolic stress. Therefore, autophagy inhibition may be a novel way of increasing the efficicacy of antiangiogenic agents in the treatment of HCC.

PMID:
23052483
PMCID:
PMC3611041
DOI:
10.1007/s00109-012-0966-0
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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