Targeting Liver Cancer and Associated Pathologies in Mice with a Mitochondrial VDAC1-Based Peptide.

Abstract:

:Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the third most lethal cancer worldwide. Despite progress in identifying risk factors, the incidence of HCC is increasing. Moreover, therapeutic options are limited and survival is poor. Therefore, alternative and innovative therapeutic strategies are urgently required. R-Tf-D-LP4, a cell-penetrating peptide derived from the mitochondrial multifunctional protein the voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC1), is identified here as a highly effective liver cancer treatment. Recently, we demonstrated that R-Tf-D-LP4 induced apoptosis and inhibited tumor growth in mouse models. We now demonstrate that R-Tf-D-LP4 induced apoptosis in cancer liver-derived cell lines and inhibited tumor growth in three different liver cancer mouse models. These included diethylnitrosamine (DEN)-induced HCC, metabolically high-fat diet-induced HCC, and using a subcutaneous HepG2 cell xenograft model. Intravenous injection of the peptide into tumor-carrying DEN-treated mice resulted in dose-dependent inhibition of tumor growth up to complete tumor elimination. TUNEL staining of liver sections demonstrated peptide-induced apoptosis. Hematoxylin/eosin and Sirius red staining of liver sections showed decreased fibrotic formation. Immunohistochemical staining demonstrated reduced numbers of α-SMA-expressing cells in R-Tf-D-LP4-treated mouse livers. Additionally, macrophage presence in liver tissue was reduced in R-Tf-D-LP4-treated mice. Liver sections from DEN-treated mice showed steatohepatic pathology, reflected as fatty liver, inflammation, ballooning degeneration, and fibrosis; all were eliminated upon peptide treatment. Peptide treatment also inhibited tumor development in a nonalcoholic steatohepatitis-hepatocellular carcinoma mouse model induced by HFD. In HepG2 subcutaneous tumor xenografts, R-Tf-D-LP4 inhibited tumor growth. CONCLUSION:These results show that the VDAC1-based peptide R-Tf-D-LP4 has multiple effects on liver cancer cells, leading to impairment of cell energy and metabolism homeostasis, induction of apoptosis, and elimination of liver cancer-associated processes, and thus represents a promising therapeutic approach for liver cancer.

journal_name

Neoplasia

authors

Pittala S,Krelin Y,Shoshan-Barmatz V

doi

10.1016/j.neo.2018.02.012

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2018-06-01 00:00:00

pages

594-609

issue

6

eissn

1522-8002

issn

1476-5586

pii

S1476-5586(17)30508-0

journal_volume

20

pub_type

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