Sorafenib in Combination with Betulinic Acid Synergistically Induces Cell Cycle Arrest and Inhibits Clonogenic Activity in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma Cells.
Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Oct 19 ;19(10). Epub 2018 Oct 19. PMID: 30347681
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the most deadly cancers in the world due to late diagnosis and poor response to available treatments. It is important to identify treatment strategies that will increase the efficacy and reduce the toxicity of the currently used therapeutics. In this study, the PDAC cell lines AsPC-1, BxPC-3, and Capan-1 were treated with sorafenib and betulinic acid alone and in combination. We examined the effect of combined treatments on viability (MTS test), proliferation and apoptosis (annexin V staining), cell cycle arrest (PI staining), alterations in signaling pathways (Western blotting), and colony-forming ability. The combination of sorafenib with betulinic acid inhibited the viability and proliferation of PDAC cells without the induction of apoptosis. The antiproliferative effect, caused by G2 cell cycle arrest, was strongly associated with increased expression of p21 and decreased expression of c-Myc and cyclin D1, and was induced only by combined treatment. Additionally, decreased proliferation could also be associated with the inhibition of the P13K/Akt and MAPK signaling pathways. Importantly, combination treatment reduced the colony-forming ability of PDAC cells, as compared to both compounds alone. Collectively, we showed that combined treatment with low concentrations of sorafenib and betulinic acid had the capacity to inhibit proliferation and abolish clonogenic activity in PDAC cell lines.