Inhibition of the Rho/ROCK pathway enhances the efficacy of cisplatin through the blockage of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α in human ovarian cancer cells

Tsuyoshi Ohta, Toshifumi Takahashi, Tae Shibuya, Mitsuyoshi Amita, Noriko Henmi, Kazuhiro Takahashi, Hirohisa Kurachi
Cancer Biology & Therapy 2012 January 1, 13 (1): 25-33
Rho, a Ras-related small GTPase, and Rho-associated coiled coil-containing protein kinase (Rho kinase, ROCK1 and ROCK2) are key regulators of focal adhesion, actomyosin contraction, and thus cell motility. Rho/ROCK kinases also play roles in proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis and oncogenic transformation. In the present study, we have shown that Rho/ROCK pathway inhibition by fasudil, an orally administered inhibitor of Rho kinases, enhanced cisplatin-induced growth inhibition and apoptosis in human ovarian cancer cell lines. Fasudil inhibited hypoxia inducible factor (HIF)-1α protein expression. Knockdown of RhoA, ROCK1 or ROCK2 also attenuated the expression of HIF-1α. Furthermore, knockdown of HIF-1α using small interfering RNA enhanced cisplatin-induced growth inhibition and apoptosis as did inhibition of the Rho/ROCK pathway by fasudil, the Rho/ROCK inhibitor Y27632, or by Rho/ROCK knockdown. Therefore, the Rho/ROCK pathway may modulate HIF-1α signal transduction and blockade of Rho/ROCK enhances the efficacy of cisplatin by inhibiting HIF-1α in ovarian cancer cells. Our findings suggested that the Rho/ROCK pathway may be a new target for molecular targeting therapies against ovarian cancer.

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