Journal of Advanced Research (2020-11-01)

Brusatol suppresses STAT3-driven metastasis by downregulating epithelial-mesenchymal transition in hepatocellular carcinoma

  • Jong Hyun Lee,
  • Chakrabhavi Dhananjaya Mohan,
  • Amudha Deivasigamani,
  • Young Yun Jung,
  • Shobith Rangappa,
  • Salundi Basappa,
  • Arunachalam Chinnathambi,
  • Tahani Awad Alahmadi,
  • Sulaiman Ali Alharbi,
  • Manoj Garg,
  • Zhi-Xiu Lin,
  • Kanchugarakoppal S. Rangappa,
  • Gautam Sethi,
  • Kam Man Hui,
  • Kwang Seok Ahn

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 26
pp. 83 – 94


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Introduction: Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a process of transdifferentiation where epithelial cells attain mesenchymal phenotype to gain invasive properties and thus, can contribute to metastasis of tumor cells. Objectives: The antimetastatic and antitumor efficacy of brusatol (BT) was investigated in a hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) model. Methods: We evaluated the action of BT on EMT process using various biological assays in HCC cell lines and its effect on tumorigenesis in an orthotopic mouse model. Results: We found that BT treatment restored the expression of Occludin, E-cadherin (epithelial markers) while suppressing the levels of different mesenchymal markers in HCC cells and tumor tissues. Moreover, we observed a decline in the expression of transcription factors (Snail, Twist). Since the expression of these two factors can be regulated by STAT3 signaling, we deciphered the influence of BT on modulation of this pathway. BT suppressed the phosphorylation of STAT3Y705 and STAT3 depletion using siRNA resulted in the restoration of epithelial markers. Importantly, BT (1mg/kg) reduced the tumor burden in orthotopic mouse model with a concurrent decline in lung metastasis. Conclusions: Overall, our results demonstrate that BT interferes with STAT3 induced metastasis by altering the expression of EMT-related proteins in HCC model.