Anti-cancer Effects of HNHA and Lenvatinib by the Suppression of EMT-Mediated Drug Resistance in Cancer Stem Cells

Yong Sang Lee, Seok Mo Kim, Bup Woo Kim, Ho Jin Chang, Soo Young Kim, Cheong Soo Park, Ki Cheong Park, Hang Seok Chang

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27 Citations (Scopus)


Anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) constitutes less than 2% of total thyroid cancers but accounts for 20–40% of thyroid cancer-related deaths. Cancer stem cell drug resistance represents a primary factor hindering treatment. This study aimed to develop targeted agents against thyroid malignancy, focusing on individual and synergistic effects of HNHA (histone deacetylase), lenvatinib (FGFR), and sorafenib (tyrosine kinase) inhibitors. Patients with biochemically and histologically proven papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) and ATC were included. Cell samples were obtained from patients at the Thyroid Cancer Center, Gangnam Severance Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. PTC and ATC cells were treated with lenvatinib or sorafenib, alone or in combination with HNHA. Tumor-bearing mice (10/group) were administered 10 mg/kg lenvatinib (p.o.) or 40 mg/kg sorafenib (p.o.), alone or in combination with 25 mg/kg HNHA (i.p.) once every three days. Gene expression in patient-derived PTC and ATC cells was compared using a microarray approach. Cellular apoptosis and proliferation were examined by immunohistochemistry and MTT assays. Tumor volume and cell properties were examined in the mouse xenograft model. HNHA-lenvatinib combined treatment induced markers of cell cycle arrest and apoptosis and suppressed anti-apoptosis markers, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), and the FGFR signaling pathway. Combined treatment induced significant tumor shrinkage in the xenograft model. HNHA-lenvatinib combination treatment thus blocked the FGFR signaling pathway, which is important for EMT. Treatment with HNHA-lenvatinib combination was more effective than either agent alone or sorafenib-HNHA combination. These findings have implications for ATC treatment by preventing drug resistance in cancer stem cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-206
Number of pages10
JournalNeoplasia (United States)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Feb

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© 2018 The Authors

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cancer Research


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