Oncology reports

Recombinant hirudin suppresses the viability, adhesion, migration and invasion of Hep-2 human laryngeal cancer cells.

PMID 25592110


Recombinant hirudin (rH) is a highly potent and specific inhibitor of thrombin, and has been shown to inhibit the growth and metastasis of several types of cancers in experimental tumor models. The objective of this study was to evaluate the antitumor effects and explore the underlying mechanisms of rH in Hep-2 human laryngeal carcinoma (LC) cells. Hep-2 cells were treated with various concentrations of rH for 24 h. The cell viability was evaluated by a water-soluble tetrazolium salt (WST) assay. The adhesion ability of the cells was evaluated by cell adhesion to fibronectin. Cell migration and invasion were measured with the Boyden chamber assay. Cell apoptosis was detected by Hoechst 33324 fluorescence staining. A chicken chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) assay was used to assess the effects of rH on angiogenesis in vivo. Western blotting was used to detect the expression levels of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGF-R), focal adhesion kinase (FAK), Bcl-2-associated agonist of cell death (Bad) and B-cell CLL/lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) proteins. rH significantly inhibited the cell viability and induced apoptosis in LC Hep-2 cells in a dose-dependent manner, as compared with phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) as control. These results were accompanied by a decrease in the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 and an increase in the pro-apoptotic protein Bad. Moreover, rH dose-dependently inhibited the adhesion, migration and invasion of the Hep-2 cells, compared to the vehicle PBS. In addition, rH robustly suppressed angiogenesis in the CAM assay. Importantly, the expression of adhesion and angiogenesis-associated proteins FAK and VEGF-R was significantly downregulated by rH in a dose-dependent manner. The present findings demonstrate that rH exerts antitumor effects in Hep-2 human laryngeal cancer cells via multiple mechanisms and suggests that targeting thrombin by rH is a potential strategy for the treatment of LC.