Biomedicine & pharmacotherapy = Biomedecine & pharmacotherapie

Periostin contributes to arsenic trioxide resistance in hepatocellular carcinoma cells under hypoxia.

PMID 28119236


Hypoxia has been suggested to induce chemoresistance in tumor cells. In this study, we aimed to test the hypothesis that hypoxia-inducible factor-1alpha (HIF-1α)/periostin axis might promote arsenic trioxide resistance in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells under hypoxia. HCC cells were exposed to hypoxia and measured for periostin expression. Loss-of-function studies were done to assess the role of periostin in arsenic trioxide resistance. In vivo xenograft mouse studies were performed to determine the effect of periostin silencing on HCC susceptibility to arsenic trioxide. It was found that periostin expression was significantly increased in SMMC7721 and Hep3B HCC cells after hypoxic treatment. Depletion of HIF-1α blocked the upregulation of periostin induced by hypoxia. HCC cells under hypoxia displayed more resistant to arsenic trioxide than those under normoxia. Interestingly, downregulation of periostin re-sensitized hypoxic SMMC7721 and Hep3B cells to arsenic trioxide, which was accompanied by increased apoptosis. Luciferase reporter assay revealed that periostin overexpression enhanced HIF-1α-dependent transcriptional activity and induced the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor, Mcl-1, and Bcl-xL in SMMC7721 cells. Administration of arsenic trioxide resulted in a significant inhibition of SMMC7721 tumor growth. Notably, downregulation of periostin significantly enhanced the anticancer effect of arsenic trioxide against SMMC7721 tumors and reduced the percentage of Ki-67-positive proliferating cells. Taken together, periostin contributes to arsenic trioxide resistance in HCC under hypoxic microenvironment, which is likely associated with promotion of HIF-1α-dependent activation of survival genes. Targeting periostin may represent a promising strategy to improve arsenic trioxide-based anticancer therapy against HCC.

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EHU069741 MISSION® esiRNA, esiRNA human POSTN (esiRNA1)