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J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2018 Aug;144(8):1487-1501. doi: 10.1007/s00432-018-2672-y. Epub 2018 Jun 1.

Downregulation of Raf-1 kinase inhibitory protein as a sorafenib resistance mechanism in hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines.

Author information

1
Department of Gastroenterology, Asan Liver Center, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, 88 Olympic-ro 43-gil, Songpa-gu, Seoul, 05505, South Korea.
2
Department of Gastroenterology, Asan Liver Center, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, 88 Olympic-ro 43-gil, Songpa-gu, Seoul, 05505, South Korea. kimkm70@amc.seoul.kr.
3
Department of Pathology, Asan Liver Center, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, 88 Olympic-ro 43-gil, Songpa-gu, Seoul, South Korea.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Although sorafenib enhances overall survival, sorafenib resistance has been reported to be a significant limiting factor for improved prognosis in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Therefore, it is important to identify the mechanism of sorafenib resistance. This study aimed to identify the causative factor of sorafenib resistance and suggest methods for overcoming it.

METHODS:

The sensitivity to sorafenib was compared in human HCC cell lines and patient-derived HCC primary cells. Based on its cytotoxicity, signaling pathways altered by sorafenib and the causative factors were examined through assays. The mechanism by which sorafenib modified the sorafenib-resistance inducer through gene or protein expression or stability was also investigated. We also designed a treatment option to overcome sorafenib resistance.

RESULTS:

Sorafenib activated the Raf/MEK/ERK pathway and caused sorafenib resistance in HCC cell lines and patient-derived HCC primary cells. Sorafenib reactivated the MAPK pathway by down-regulating RKIP at the post-translational level. Knockdown of RKIP increased phosphorylated ERK and thus suppressed sorafenib-mediated cell death. We also found that sorafenib-reactivated ERK maybe an attractive target for second-line therapy for patients with sorafenib resistance. Sequential combination treatment with sorafenib and PD98059 significantly reduced the viability and proliferation of sorafenib-resistant cells, while their increasing apoptosis efficacy.

CONCLUSION:

Reactivation of the Raf/MEK/ERK pathway through aberrant expression of RKIP is one of the mechanisms behind sorafenib resistance in HCC. Sequential combination treatment with sorafenib and PD98059 could provide a new strategy to overcome sorafenib resistance in future clinical studies.

KEYWORDS:

Hepatocellular carcinoma; Raf-1 kinase inhibitory protein; Resistance; Sequential treatment; Sorafenib

PMID:
29858683
DOI:
10.1007/s00432-018-2672-y
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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