Sequential combination of cisplatin with eugenol targets ovarian cancer stem cells through the Notch-Hes1 signalling pathway.
J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2019 Aug 30 ;38(1):382. Epub 2019 Aug 30. PMID: 31470883
Syed S Islam
BACKGROUND: Ovarian carcinomas are the deadliest gynecological malignancies owing to their high rate of recurrence and high resistance to platinum-based chemotherapy. Recent studies have shown platinum-dependent enrichment of ovarian tumors with side population as well as cancer stem cells, which are highly resistant to the treatment. To overcome this treatment-limiting factor, we sought to combine cisplatin with eugenol, a natural substance known to have anti-cancer effects.
METHODS: The efficiency of combining cisplatin with eugenol was first tested in vitro on two ovarian cancer cell lines SKOV3 and OV2774 using the WST1 and the flow cytometry techniques. The effect of this combination on ovarian cancer stem cells was determined by the tumorsphere formation assay, while the implication of the Notch pathway was evaluated post-ectopic expression of the Hes1 gene. The resulting changes in the expression of several markers was assessed by immunoblotting, immunofluorescence as well as quantitative RT-PCR. Cell sorting was also used to isolate specific ovarian cancer sub-population of cells. Furthermore, tumor-bearing mouse models were utilized to prove the potential therapeutic value of the cisplatin/eugenol combination treatment in vivo.
RESULTS: We have shown that adding eugenol to cisplatin-treated ovarian cancer cells synergistically inhibited their growth and survival through induction of apoptosis. Importantly, this sequential inhibition strongly reduced the proportion of side population cells and suppressed cisplatin-dependent enrichment in ovarian cancer stem cells. Additionally, while increase in the level of Hes1 promoted stemness and enhanced resistance to cisplatin, cisplatin/eugenol cotreatment inhibited the Notch-Hes1 pathway and strongly downregulated the drug resistance ABC transporter genes. These findings were confirmed in vivo by showing that cisplatin/eugenol cotherapy inhibited tumor growth in animals, reduced the proportion and self-renewal capacities of cancer stem cells and significantly improved disease-free survival of tumor-bearing animals compared with either therapy alone.
CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that cisplatin/eugenol sequential combination could be of great therapeutic value for ovarian cancer patients through targeting the Notch-Hes1 pathway and the consequent elimination of the resistant cancer stem cells.