Although sorafenib, an oral multikinase inhibitor, was approved as a treatment drug of advance hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), treatment efficacy still requires improvement. Searching for the adjuvant reagent for enhancing sorafenib efficacy remains as a critical issue. Sorafenib has been proved to suppress extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK) in HCC; however, protein kinase B (AKT) was not affected by it. Targeting AKT in combination with sorafenib could be an important breakthrough point of HCC treatment. Many herbal compounds and composite formulas have been shown to enhance anti-HCC activity of sorafenib. Magnolol is a bioactive compound extracted from the bark of the Magnolia officinalis
and has been shown to induce apoptosis and inhibit cell invasion in HCC in vitro. However, whether magnolol sensitizes HCC to sorafenib is ambiguous. In this study, we indicated that magnolol significantly enhanced sorafenib-diminished tumor cell growth, expression of anti-apoptotic proteins, and migration/invasion ability compared to sorafenib alone. Magnolol significantly boosted sorafenib-induced extrinsic/intrinsic dependent apoptosis pathways in HCC. Notably sorafenib could not reduce protein level of AKT (Ser473), but expression of AKT (Ser473) was significantly decreased by magnolol or magnolol combined with sorafenib. LY294002 as specific AKT inhibitor was used to confirm that AKT inactivation may promote anticancer effect of sorafenib. Taken together, AKT inhibition is associated with magnolol-enhanced the therapeutic effect of sorafenib in HCC. We suggested magnolol as the potential adjuvant which may enhance therapeutic benefits of sorafenib in patients with HCC.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited