Epidermal growth factor receptor/heme oxygenase-1 axis is involved in chemoresistance to cisplatin and pirarubicin in HepG2 cell lines and hepatoblastoma specimens
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To investigate the possibility that the antioxidant stress protein Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) is involved in the acquisition of chemoresistance in cisplatin and pirarubicin (CITA) therapy.
Human hepatoblastoma-derived cell line (HepG2) was used to generate a knockdown cell line of HO-1 by small interfering RNA (siRNA). Expression of HO-1, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), Akt, and extracellular signal-regulated kinase1/2 (ERK1/2) was examined by Western blot. The cytotoxic effect of cisplatin, pirarubicin, and EGFR inhibitor was examined by trypan blue staining. In human hepatoblastoma specimens (n = 5), changes of HO-1 expression were examined immunohistochemically before and after CITA therapy.
HO-1 expression in HepG2 cells was increased by the treatment of cisplatin (CDDP) and pirarubicin (THP) dose-dependently. In HO-1 knockdown HepG2 cells, the HO-1 was not expressed and the percentage of trypan blue-positive cells (dead cells) was significantly increased after treatment of CDDP and THP. The EGFR inhibitor decreased the levels of HO-1, phospho-Akt and phospho-ERK1/2 in HepG2 cells. Combination treatment of EGFR inhibitor with CDDP and THP increased the cytotoxic effect in HepG2 cells. In human hepatoblastoma specimens, 4 of the 5 patients (80%) showed HO-1 expression changed much stronger in the viable tumor cells after CITA therapy.
The cytotoxic effects of CDDP and THP were both enhanced under HO-1 knockdown conditions as well as under conditions that inhibit the activation pathway of HO-1 by EGFR inhibitors. EGFR/HO-1 axis may be involved in acquiring chemoresistance in HepG2 cell lines as well as in human hepatoblastoma.
KeywordsHepatoblastoma Cisplatin Pirarubicin Heme oxygenase-1 Epidermal growth factor receptor
This study was supported in part by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (17H04270F).
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