Preclinical evaluation of antitumor activity of the proteasome inhibitor MLN2238 (ixazomib) in hepatocellular carcinoma cells

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the common malignancies and is an increasingly important cause of cancer death worldwide. Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy extend the 5-year survival limit in HCC patients by only 6%. Therefore, there is a need to develop new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of this disease. The orally bioavailable proteasome inhibitor MLN2238 (ixazomib) has been demonstrated to have anticancer activity. In the present study, we investigated the preclinical therapeutic efficacy of MLN2238 in HCC cells through in vitro and in vivo models, and examined its molecular mechanisms of action. MLN2238 inhibited cell viability in human HCC cells HepG2, Hep3B, and SNU475 in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Flow cytometry analysis demonstrated that MLN2238 induced G2/M cell cycle arrest and cellular apoptosis in HCC cells. Cell cycle arrest was associated with increased expression levels of p21 and p27. MLN2238-induced apoptosis was confirmed by caspase-3/7 activation, PARP cleavage and caspase-dependent β-catenin degradation. In addition, MLN2238 activated ER stress genes in HCC cells and increased the expression of the stress-inducible gene nuclear protein-1. Furthermore, MLN2238 treatment induced upregulation of myeloid cell leukemia-1 (Mcl-1) protein, and Mcl-1 knockdown sensitized HCC cells to MLN2238 treatment, suggesting the contribution of Mcl-1 expression to MLN2238 resistance. This result was also confirmed using the novel Mcl-1 small molecule inhibitor A1210477. Association of A1210477 and MLN2238 determined synergistic antitumor effects in HCC cells. Finally, in vivo orally administered MLN2238 suppressed tumor growth of Hep3B cells in xenograft models in nude mice. In conclusion, our results offer hope for a new therapeutic opportunity in the treatment of HCC patients.

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S2180 Ixazomib (MLN2238) Ixazomib (MLN2238) inhibits the chymotrypsin-like proteolytic (β5) site of the 20S proteasome with IC50 and Ki of 3.4 nM and 0.93 nM in cell-free assays, respectively, also inhibits the caspase-like (β1) and trypsin-like (β2) proteolytic sites, with IC50 of 31 and 3500 nM. Ixazomib (MLN2238) induces autophagy. Phase 3. (54) (6)

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