A sorafenib derivative and novel SHP-1 agonist, SC-59, acts synergistically with radiotherapy in hepatocellular carcinoma cells through inhibition of STAT3

Chao-Yuan Huang, Wei-Tien Tai, Chi-Ying Hsieh, Wan-Mai Hsu, Ying-Jiun Lai, Li-Ju Chen, Chung-Wai Shiau, Kuen-Feng Chen
Cancer Letters 2014 July 28, 349 (2): 136-43
Radiotherapy shows limited benefit as treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In this study, we aimed to overcome the radioresistance of HCC by using a novel sorafenib derivative, SC-59 that targets SHP-1-related signaling. HCC cell lines (SK-Hep1, Hep3B, and Huh7) were treated with sorafenib, SC-59, radiation, sorafenib plus radiation, or SC-59 plus radiation, and then apoptosis, colony formation, signal transduction and the phosphatase activity were analyzed. The synergistic effect of radiotherapy and SC-59 was analyzed using a combination index (CI) approach. In vivo efficacy was determined in a Huh7-bearing subcutaneous model. Mice were treated with radiation (5 Gy, one fraction per day) for 4 days, SC-59 (10mg/kg/day) for 24 days, or a combination. Tumor samples were further analyzed for p-STAT3 and SHP-1 activity. SC-59 displayed a better synergistic effect when used in combination with radiotherapy than sorafenib in HCC cell lines. SC-59 downregulated p-STAT3 and its downstream targets and increased SHP-1 phosphatase activity. Both ectopic STAT3 and inhibition of SHP-1 abolished SC-59-induced radiosensitization. Moreover, SC-59 significantly synergized radiotherapy in a Huh7 xenograft model by targeting SHP-1/STAT3 signaling. The novel sorafenib derivative, SC-59, acting as a SHP-1 agonist, displays a better synergistic effect when used in combination with radiotherapy than sorafenib for the treatment of HCC. Further clinical investigation is warranted.

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