Bufalin reverses resistance to sorafenib by in hepatocellular carcinoma cells. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Bufalin Reverses Resistance to Sorafenib by Inhibiting Akt Activation in Hepatocellular Carcinoma: The Role of Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress.
PLoS One. 2015 ;10(9):e0138485. Epub 2015 Sep 18. PMID: 26381511
Sorafenib is the standard first-line therapeutic treatment for patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but its use is hampered by the development of drug resistance. The activation of Akt by sorafenib is thought to be responsible for this resistance. Bufalin is the major active ingredient of the traditional Chinese medicine Chan su, which inhibits Akt activation; therefore, Chan su is currently used in the clinic to treat cancer. The present study aimed to investigate the ability of bufalin to reverse both inherent and acquired resistance to sorafenib. Bufalin synergized with sorafenib to inhibit tumor cell proliferation and induce apoptosis. This effect was at least partially due to the ability of bufalin to inhibit Akt activation by sorafenib. Moreover, the ability of bufalin to inactivate Akt depended on endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress mediated by inositol-requiring enzyme 1 (IRE1). Silencing IRE1 with siRNA blocked the bufalin-induced Akt inactivation, but silencing eukaryotic initiation factor 2 (eIF2) or C/EBP-homologous protein (CHOP) did not have the same effect. Additionally, silencing Akt did not influence IRE1, CHOP or phosphorylated eIF2α expression. Two sorafenib-resistant HCC cell lines, which were established from human HCC HepG2 and Huh7 cells, were refractory to sorafenib-induced growth inhibition but were sensitive to bufalin. Thus, Bufalin reversed acquired resistance to sorafenib by downregulating phosphorylated Akt in anER-stress-dependent manner via the IRE1 pathway. These findings warrant further studies to examine the utility of bufalin alone or in combination with sorafenib as a first- or second-line treatment after sorafenib failure for advanced HCC.