Background: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) represents a major health burden with limited curative treatment options. There is a substantial unmet need to develop innovative approaches to impact the progression of advanced HCC. Haprolid is a novel natural component isolated from myxobacteria. Haprolid has been reported as a potent selective cytotoxin against a panel of tumor cells in recent studies including HCC cells. The aims of this study are to evaluate the antitumor effect of haprolid in HCC and to understand its underlying molecular mechanisms. Methods: The efficacy of haprolid was evaluated in human HCC cell lines (Huh-7, Hep3B and HepG2) and xenograft tumors (NMRI-Foxn1nu
mice with injection of Hep3B cells). Cytotoxic activity of haprolid was determined by the WST-1 and crystal violet assay. Wound healing, transwell and tumorsphere assays were performed to investigate migration and invasion of HCC cells. Apoptosis and cell-cycle distribution were measured by flow cytometry. The effects of haprolid on the Rb/E2F and Akt/mTOR pathway were examined by immunoblotting and immunohistochemistry. Results: haprolid treatment significantly inhibited cell proliferation, migration and invasion in vitro. The epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) was impaired by haprolid treatment and the expression level of N-cadherin, vimentin and Snail was downregulated. Moreover, growth of HCC cells in vitro was suppressed by inhibition of G1/S transition, and partially by induction of apoptosis. The drug induced downregulation of cell cycle regulatory proteins cyclin A, cyclin B and CDK2 and induced upregulation of p21 and p27. Further evidence showed that these effects of haprolid were associated with Rb/E2F downregulation and Akt/mTOR inhibition. Finally, in vivo nude mice experiments demonstrated significant inhibition of tumor growth upon haprolid treatment. Conclusion: Our results show that haprolid inhibits the growth of HCC
through dual inhibition of Rb/E2F and Akt/mTOR pathways.
Therefore, haprolid might be considered as a new and promising candidate for the palliative therapy of 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