Patients with advanced cancer including breast cancer, hepatocellular cancer and urothelial cancer frequently receive a chemotherapy regimen containing doxorubicin. However, doxorubicin-resistance is a major obstacle for cancer chemotherapy. Recently, several molecular-targeted agents have become available. Sorafenib (BAY 43-9006) is known to target multiple kinases and has demonstrated activity in renal cell and hepatocellular cancer. In this study, sorafenib was found to inhibit phosphorylation of the eukaryotic initiation factor-2α (eIF2α), induce cell cycle arrest at G2 phase and increase cellular apoptosis in doxorubicin-resistant human urothelial cell lines. An eIF2α kinase, PERK was responsible for eIF2α phosphorylation and PERK knockdown induced cellular apoptosis similar to sorafenib treatment in doxorubicin-resistant cancer cells. Furthermore, sorafenib sensitized doxorubicin-resistant cancer cells, but not their parental cells to oxidative stress exerted by both hydrogen peroxide and doxorubicin. In addition, PERK knockdown sensitized doxorubicin-resistant cancer cells to oxidative stress. In conclusion, PERK inhibition using sorafenib with or without doxorubicin might be a promising therapeutic approach for doxorubicin-resistant cancers retaining high phosphorylation levels of eIF2α.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research