Isomalto oligosaccharide sulfate inhibits tumor growth and metastasis of hepatocellular carcinoma in nude mice

Chun-Li Xiao, Zhong-Hua Tao, Lin Guo, Wei-Wei Li, Jin-Liang Wan, Hui-Chuan Sun, Lu Wang, Zhao-You Tang, Jia Fan, Wei-Zhong Wu
BMC Cancer 2011, 11: 150

BACKGROUND: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) usually has a dismal prognosis because of its limited response to current pharmacotherapy and high metastatic rate. Sulfated oligosaccharide has been confirmed as having potent antitumor activities against solid tumors. Here, we explored the preclinical effects and molecular mechanisms of isomalto oligosaccharide sulfate (IMOS), another novel sulfated oligosaccharide, in HCC cell lines and a xenograft model.

METHODS: The effects of IMOS on HCC proliferation, apoptosis, adhesion, migration, and invasiveness in vitro were assessed by cell counting, flow cytometry, adhesion, wound healing, and transwell assays, respectively. The roles of IMOS on HCC growth and metastasis in xenograft models were evaluated by tumor volumes and fluorescent signals. Total and phosphorylated protein levels of AKT, ERK, and JNK as well as total levels of c-MET were detected by Western blotting. IMOS-regulated genes were screened by quantitative reverse-transcription PCR (qRT-PCR) array in HCCLM3-red fluorescent protein (RFP) xenograft tissues and then confirmed by qRT-PCR in HepG2 and Hep3B cells.

RESULTS: IMOS markedly inhibited cell proliferation and induced cell apoptosis of HCCLM3, HepG2, and Bel-7402 cells and also significantly suppressed cell adhesion, migration, and invasion of HCCLM3 in vitro. At doses of 60 and 90 mg/kg/d, IMOS displayed robust inhibitory effects on HCC growth and metastasis without obvious side effects in vivo. The levels of pERK, tERK, and pJNK as well as c-MET were significantly down-regulated after treatment with 16 mg/mL IMOS. No obvious changes were found in the levels of pAkt, tAkt, and tJNK. Ten differentially expressed genes were screened from HCCLM3-RFP xenograft tissues after treatment with IMOS at a dose of 90 mg/kg/d. Similar gene expression profiles were confirmed in HepG2 and Hep3B cells after treatment with 16 mg/mL IMOS.

CONCLUSIONS: IMOS is a potential anti-HCC candidate through inhibition of ERK and JNK signaling independent of p53 and worth studying further in patients with HCC, especially at advanced stages.

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