Diego Uribe, Andres Cardona, Davide Degli Esposti, Marie-Pierre Cros, Cyrille Cuenin, Zdenko Herceg, Mauricio Camargo, Fabian M. Cortés-Mancera
Introduction and aim. Epigenetic alterations play an essential role in cancer onset and progression, thus studies of drugs targeting the epigenetic machinery are a principal concern for cancer treatment. Here, we evaluated the potential of the combination of the DNA methyltransferase inhibitor 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5aza-dC) and the pan-deacetylase inhibitor Trichostatin A (TSA), at low cytotoxic concentrations, to modulate the canonical Wnt/β-catenin pathway in liver cancer cells. Material and methods. Pyrosequencing was used for DNA methylation analyses of LINE-1 sequences and the Wnt/β-catenin pathway antagonist DKK3, SFRP1, WIF1 and CDH1. qRT-PCR was employed to verify the expression of the antagonist. Pathway regulation were evaluated looking at the expression of β-catenin and E-cadherin by confocal microscopy and the antitumoral effects of the drugs was studied by wound healing and clonogenic assays. Results. Our result suggest that 5aza-dC and TSA treatments were enough to induce a significant expression of the pathway antagonists, decrease of β-catenin protein levels, re-localization of the protein to the plasma membrane, and pathway transcriptional activity reduction. These important effects exerted an antitumoral outcome shown by the reduction of the migration and clonogenic capabilities of the cells. Conclusion. We were able to demonstrate Wnt/ β-catenin pathway modulation through E-cadherin up-regulation induced by 5aza-dC and TSA treatments, under an activation-pathway background, like CTNNB1 and TP53 mutations. These findings provide evidences of the potential effect of epigenetic modifier drugs for liver cancer treatment. However, further research needs to be conducted, to determine the in vivo potential of this treatment regimen for the management of liver cancer.
Key words. Liver cancer., DNA methylation., E-cadherin., 5aza-dC., TSA., Wnt pathway.