Synergistic antimetastatic effect of cotreatment with licochalcone A and sorafenib on human hepatocellular carcinoma cells through the inactivation of MKK4/JNK and uPA expression.
Environ Toxicol. 2018 Dec ;33(12):1237-1244. Epub 2018 Sep 6. PMID: 30187994
To improve the clinical outcome of tumor chemotherapy, more effective combination treatments against tumor metastasis and recurrence are required. Licochalcone A (LicA) is the root of Glycyrrhiza inflata and has been reported to possess anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antitumor effects. Sorafenib (Sor), a multikinase inhibitor, is used to treat patients with solid tumors such as advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, the synergistic effects of LicA and Sor on the metastasis of human HCC cells have not been reported. We found that LicA and Sor did not have cytotoxic effects or arrest growth in human SK-Hep-1 and Huh-7 cells. In addition, treatment with LicA or Sor alone inhibited migration and invasion in human SK-Hep-1 and Huh-7 HCC cells. Furthermore, cotreatment with LicA and Sor synergistically inhibited the migration and invasion of HCC cells and significantly inhibited uPA protein expression. Notably, cotreatment of LicA and Sor synergistically and significantly downregulated MKK4-JNK expression. Through tail vein injection in nude mice, the aforementioned cotreatment synergistically suppressed SK-Hep-1 cell-mediated lung metastasis. These findings first revealed the synergistic effects of LicA and Sor cotreatment against human HCC cells, further suggesting that beneficial effects on tumor regression could be confirmed through prospective clinical trials.