Chemically induced mouse liver tumors are resistant to treatment with atorvastatin.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Atorvastatin is a potent inhibitor of the mevalonate pathway and widely used as a hypolipidemic drug. Some epidemiological studies and animal experiments indicate that the long-term use of atorvastatin and structurally related drugs might be associated with a reduced risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common hepatocellular malignancy in humans. However, the potential of atorvastatin to inhibit HCC formation is controversially discussed. METHODS: Hepatocellular tumors were chemically induced by treatment of C3H/He mice with 10 ?g/g body weight N-nitrosodiethylamine and the ability of atorvastatin to interfere with tumor formation was investigated by treatment of mice with 0.1% atorvastatin in the diet for 6 months. Tumor size and tumor multiplicity were analyzed, as were tissue levels of cholesterol and atorvastatin. RESULTS: Atorvastatin treatment efficiently reduced serum cholesterol levels. However, the growth of tumors driven by activated MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) signaling was not attenuated by the presence of the drug, as evidenced by a lack of reduction of tumor volume or tumor multiplicity by atorvastatin. Levels of the atorvastatin uptake transporters Oatp1a4 and Oatp1b2 were down-regulated at the mRNA and protein levels in chemically induced mouse liver tumors, but without striking effects on atorvastatin concentrations in the tumor tissue. CONCLUSION: In summary, the present data provide substantial evidence that atorvastatin does not beneficially influence tumor growth in mouse liver and thereby challenge the hypothesis that statin use might protect against hepatocellular cancer.
Project description:Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a hepatic malignancy, has a poor prognosis and contributes to cancer-related death worldwide. Cellular senescence is an anticancer therapeutic strategy that causes irreversible cell cycle arrest and enables immune-mediated clearance of cancer cells. Atorvastatin, an HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, has been shown to inhibit tumor growth and induce apoptosis or autophagy in malignant tumors. However, whether atorvastatin can induce HCC cell senescence and the mechanisms involved are poorly understood. The effects of atorvastatin-induced senescence were examined in both HCC cells and mouse xenograft models. The phenomenon and mechanism of senescence were examined by cell cycle analysis, senescence-associated ?-galactosidase (SA-?-gal) staining and western blotting in HCC cells, and HCC tissues from mice were analyzed by immunohistochemical (IHC) staining. We demonstrated that atorvastatin induced cell growth inhibition and G0/G1 phase cell cycle arrest, leading to senescence in HCC cells. Atorvastatin-induced senescence was independent of p53, p14, and p16, and atorvastatin not only decreased the secretion of IL-6, a major senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) factor, and the phosphorylation of STAT3 but also inhibited the expression of hTERT, a catalytic subunit of telomerase. Supplementation with exogenous IL-6 reversed both atorvastatin-induced suppression of STAT3 phosphorylation and hTERT expression and atorvastatin-induced senescence. Overexpression of constitutively activated STAT3 rescued HCC cells from atorvastatin-induced hTERT suppression and senescence. Moreover, atorvastatin decreased tumor growth in mouse xenograft models. Consistent with these results, atorvastatin decreased the IL-6, p-STAT3, and hTERT levels and increased ?-gal expression in tumor sections. Taken together, these data indicate that atorvastatin can induce atypical cellular senescence in HCC cells to inhibit tumor growth, an effect mediated by downregulation of hTERT through suppression of the IL-6/STAT3 pathway.
Project description:Despite a low risk of liver failure and preserved liver function, non-cirrhotic hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has a poor prognosis. In the current study, we evaluated an active regulator of SIRT1 (AROS) as a prognostic biomarker in non-cirrhotic HCC. mRNA levels of AROS were measured in tumor and non-tumor tissues obtained from 283 non-cirrhotic HCC patients. AROS expression was exclusively up-regulated in recurrent tissues from the non-cirrhotic HCC patients (P = 0.015) and also in tumor tissues irrespective of tumor stage (P < 0.001) or BCLC stage (P < 0.001). High mRNA levels of AROS were statistically significantly associated with tumor stage (P < 0.001), BCLC stage (P = 0.007), alpha fetoprotein (AFP) level (P = 0.013), microvascular invasion (P = 0.001), tumor size (P = 0.036), and portal vein invasion (P = 0.005). Kaplan-Meir curve analysis demonstrated that HCC patients with higher AROS levels had shorter disease-free survival (DFS) in both the short-term (P < 0.001) and long-term (P = 0.005) compared to those with low AROS. Cox regression analysis demonstrated that AROS is a significant predictor for DFS along with large tumor size, tumor multiplicity, vascular invasion, and poor tumor differentiation, which are the known prognostic factors. In conclusion, AROS is a significant biomarker for tumor aggressiveness in non-cirrhotic hepatocellular carcinoma.
Project description:Endonuclease V (EndoV) is a conserved inosine-specific ribonuclease with unknown biological function. Here, we present the first mouse model lacking EndoV, which is viable without visible abnormalities. We show that endogenous murine EndoV cleaves inosine-containing RNA in vitro, nevertheless a series of experiments fails to link an in vivo function to processing of such transcripts. As inosine levels and adenosine-to-inosine editing often are dysregulated in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), we chemically induced HCC in mice. All mice developed liver cancer, however, EndoV-/- tumors were significantly fewer and smaller than wild type tumors. Opposed to human HCC, adenosine deaminase mRNA expression and site-specific editing were unaltered in our model. Loss of EndoV did not affect editing levels in liver tumors, however mRNA expression of a selection of cancer related genes were reduced. Inosines are also found in certain tRNAs and tRNAs are cleaved during stress to produce signaling entities. tRNA fragmentation was dysregulated in EndoV-/- livers and apparently, inosine-independent. We speculate that the inosine-ribonuclease activity of EndoV is disabled in vivo, but RNA binding allowed to promote stabilization of transcripts or recruitment of proteins to fine-tune gene expression. The EndoV-/- tumor suppressive phenotype calls for related studies in human HCC.
Project description:Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) represents the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths and commonly develops in inflammatory environments. The IGF2 mRNA-binding protein IMP2-2/IGF2BP2-2/p62 was originally identified as an autoantigen in HCC. Aim of this study was to investigate a potential pathophysiological role of p62 in hepatocarcinogenesis. Human HCC tissue showed overexpression of IMP2, which strongly correlated with the fetal markers AFP and DLK1/Pref-1/FA-1 and was particularly elevated in tumors with stem-like features and hypervascularization. Molecular classification of IMP2-overexpressing tumors revealed an aggressive phenotype. Livers of mice overexpressing the IMP2 splice variant p62 highly expressed the stem cell marker DLK1 and secreted DLK1 into the blood. p62 was oncogenic: diethylnitrosamine (DEN)-treated p62 transgenic mice exhibited a higher tumor incidence and multiplicity than wild types. Tumors of transgenics showed a more aggressive and stem-like phenotype and displayed more oncogenic chromosomal aberrations determined with aCGH analysis. DEN-treated p62 transgenic mice exhibited distinct signs of inflammation, such as inflammatory cytokine expression and oxidative stress markers, that is, thiobarbituric acid-reactive substance (TBARS) levels. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) production was elevated in HepG2 cells, which either overexpressed p62 or were treated with DLK1. p62 induced this ROS production by a DLK1-dependent induction and activation of the small Rho-GTPase RAC1, activating NADPH oxidase and being overexpressed in human HCC. Our data indicate that p62/IMP2 promotes hepatocarcinogenesis by an amplification of inflammation.
Project description:Mouse models are commonly used for studying hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) biology and exploring new therapeutic interventions. Currently three main modalities of HCC mouse models have been extensively employed in pre-clinical studies including chemically induced, transgenic and transplantation models. Among them, transplantation models are preferred for evaluating in vivo drug efficacy in pre-clinical settings given the short latency, uniformity in size and close resemblance to tumors in patients. However methods used for establishing orthotopic HCC transplantation mouse models are diverse and fragmentized without a comprehensive comparison. Here, we systemically evaluate four different approaches commonly used to establish HCC mice in preclinical studies, including intravenous, intrasplenic, intrahepatic inoculation of tumor cells and intrahepatic tissue implantation. Four parameters--the latency period, take rates, pathological features and metastatic rates--were evaluated side-by-side. 100% take rates were achieved in liver with intrahepatic, intrasplenic inoculation of tumor cells and intrahepatic tissue implantation. In contrast, no tumor in liver was observed with intravenous injection of tumor cells. Intrahepatic tissue implantation resulted in the shortest latency with 0.5 cm (longitudinal diameter) tumors found in liver two weeks after implantation, compared to 0.1cm for intrahepatic inoculation of tumor cells. Approximately 0.1cm tumors were only visible at 4 weeks after intrasplenic inoculation. Uniform, focal and solitary tumors were formed with intrahepatic tissue implantation whereas multinodular, dispersed and non-uniform tumors produced with intrahepatic and intrasplenic inoculation of tumor cells. Notably, metastasis became visible in liver, peritoneum and mesenterium at 3 weeks post-implantation, and lung metastasis was visible after 7 weeks. T cell infiltration was evident in tumors, resembling the situation in HCC patients. Our study demonstrated that orthotopic HCC mouse models established via intrahepatic tissue implantation authentically reflect clinical manifestations in HCC patients pathologically and immunologically, suggesting intrahepatic tissue implantation is a preferable approach for establishing orthotopic HCC mouse models.
Project description:Aim:The prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) is currently being established as a potent diagnostic marker in many tumor types. So far, its evidence in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is sparse. The aim of our study was a comprehensive evaluation of PSMA expression and its prognostic role in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma as well as feasibility test of PSMA as an agent for diagnostic imaging. Methods:The cohort for immunohistochemistry consisted of 153 patients with HCC. For validation purposes the HCC cohort (n = 359) of The Cancer Genome Atlas was analyzed on transcript level as well. Results:On immunohistochemistry, non-tumorous liver tissue showed PSMA expression on canalicular membranes in all cases. In tumor tissue two patterns of expression, with a canalicular (41.1% of tumors) and a neovascular (89.9% of tumors) staining were seen. Completely negative for both two patterns were only 4.1% of tumors; conversely, 79.2% of the tumors showed high levels of PSMA protein expression at any location. At mRNA level higher FOLH1 (PSMA) expression rates were statistically significant and independently associated with longer overall survival times.Additionally, a case report of successful diagnostic 68Ga-PSMA-11 PET/CT in a patient with HCC progression on multiple therapy lines is provided. Conclusions:Majority of hepatocellular carcinomas show high levels of PSMA expression on tumor vessels and on canalicular membrane of the tumor cells. Putative diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic value of PSMA in HCC warrants further clinically oriented investigations.
Project description:Previous clinical reports have found elevated osteopontin (OPN) levels in tumor tissues to be indicative of greater malignancy in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, the role of OPN on carcinogenesis and its underlying mechanism remain unclear. In the present study, we investigated the oncogenic role of OPN in diethylnitrosamine (DEN)-induced hepatic carcinogenesis in mice. The overall incidence of hepatic tumors at 36 weeks was significantly lower in OPN knockout (KO) mice than in wild-type (WT) mice. Apoptosis was significantly enhanced in OPN KO mice, and was accompanied by the downregulation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). In the in vitro study, OPN suppression also led to lower mRNA and protein levels of EGFR associated with the downregulation of c-Jun in Hep3B and Huh7 human HCC cells lines, which resulted in increased apoptotic cell death in both cell lines. Moreover, a positive correlation was clearly identified between the expression of OPN and EGFR in human HCC tissues. These data demonstrate that the OPN deficiency reduced the incidence of chemically induced HCC by suppressing EGFR-mediated anti-apoptotic signaling. An important implication of our findings is that OPN positively contributes to hepatic carcinogenesis.
Project description:The present study aimed to explore the expression of latent transforming growth factor β binding protein 2 (LTBP2) in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and their correlation to clinicopathologial features.Serum levels of LTBP2 in 60 patients with HCC, 35 patients with hepatocellular benign tumors, 60 patients with precancerous lesions of HCC, and 60 healthy volunteers were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The expression levels of LTBP2 at messenger RNA (mRNA) and protein levels in 60 cases of HCC and adjacent tissues were detected by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and immunohisochemistry. Statistical analysis was used to analyze the relationship between LTBP2 and clinical characteristics of patients with HCC.The mRNA and protein levels of LTBP2 were significantly upregulated in HCC tissues compared to adjacent tissues. Additionally, higher serum LTBP2 level was also observed in HCC patients relative to normal controls. Further investigation demonstrated that LTBP2 expression was associated with malignant degree of tumor, tumor progression, tumor differentiation, tumor size, tumor stage and hepatitis virus infection, and has prognostic implications in HCC patients.LTBP2 might be served as a potential biomarker in diagnosis and treatment of HCC.
Project description:MYC is a potential target for many cancers but is not amenable to existing pharmacologic approaches. Inhibition of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase (HMG-CoA reductase) by statins has shown potential efficacy against a number of cancers. Here, we show that inhibition of HMG-CoA reductase by atorvastatin (AT) blocks both MYC phosphorylation and activation, suppressing tumor initiation and growth in vivo in a transgenic model of MYC-induced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) as well as in human HCC-derived cell lines. To confirm specificity, we show that the antitumor effects of AT are blocked by cotreatment with the HMG-CoA reductase product mevalonate. Moreover, by using a novel molecular imaging sensor, we confirm that inhibition of HMG-CoA reductase blocks MYC phosphorylation in vivo. Importantly, the introduction of phosphorylation mutants of MYC at Ser62 or Thr58 into tumors blocks their sensitivity to inhibition of HMG-CoA reductase. Finally, we show that inhibition of HMG-CoA reductase suppresses MYC phosphorylation through Rac GTPase. Therefore, HMG-CoA reductase is a critical regulator of MYC phosphorylation, activation, and tumorigenic properties. The inhibition of HMG-CoA reductase may be a useful target for the treatment of MYC-associated HCC as well as other tumors.
Project description:Immunotherapies have shown promising results in certain cancer patients. For hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the multiplicity of an immunotolerant microenvironment within both the tumor, and the liver per se may limit the efficacy of cancer immunotherapies. Since radiation induces immunogenic cell death and inflammatory reactions within the tumor microenvironment, we hypothesized that a combination therapy of radiation and lasting local immunostimulating agents, achieved by intratumoral injection of an adenoviral vector encoding interleukin 12, may reverse the immunotolerant microenvironment within a well-established orthotopic HCC toward a state favorable for inducing antitumor immunities. Our data showed that radiation and IL-12 combination therapy (RT/IL-12) led to dramatic tumor regression in animals bearing large subcutaneous or orthotopic HCC, induced systemic effect against distant tumor, and significantly prolonged survival. Radiation monotherapy induced tumor regression at early times but afterwards most tumors regained exponential growth, while IL-12 monotherapy only delayed tumor growth. Mechanistic studies revealed that RT/IL-12 increased expression of MHC class II and co-stimulatory molecules CD40 and CD86 on tumor-infiltrating dendritic cells, suggesting an improvement of their antigen presentation activity. RT/IL-12 also significantly reduced accumulation of tumor-infiltrating myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and impaired their suppressive functions by reducing production of reactive oxygen species. Accordingly, tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells and NK cells were significantly activated toward the antitumor phenotype, as revealed by increased expression of CD107a and TNF-?. Together, our data showed that RT/IL-12 treatment could reset the intratumoral immunotolerant state and stimulate activation of antitumor cellular immunity that is capable of eliminating large established HCC tumors.