Author(s): Sun CK, Chua MS, He J, So SK
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Abstract Glypican 3 (GPC3) is a valuable diagnostic marker and a potential therapeutic target in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). To evaluate the efficacy of targeting GPC3 at the translational level, we used RNA interference to examine the biologic and molecular effects of GPC3 suppression in HCC cells in vitro and in vivo. Transfection of Huh7 and HepG2 cells with GPC3-specific small interfering RNA (siRNA) inhibited cell proliferation (P < .001) together with cell cycle arrest at the G(1) phase, down-regulation of antiapoptotic protein (Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, and Mcl-1), and replicative senescence. Gene expression analysis revealed that GPC3 suppression significantly correlated with transforming growth factor beta receptor (TGFBR) pathway (P = 4.57e-5) and upregulated TGF-β2 at both RNA and protein levels. The effects of GPC3 suppression by siRNA can be recapitulated by addition of human recombinant TGF-β2 to HCC cells in culture, suggesting the possible involvement of TGF-β2 in growth inhibition of HCC cells. Cotransfection of siRNA-GPC3 with siRNA-TGF-β2 partially attenuated the effects of GPC3 suppression on cell proliferation, cell cycle progression, apoptosis, and replicative senescence, confirming the involvement of TGF-β2 in siRNA-GPC3-mediated growth suppression. In vivo, GPC3 suppression significantly inhibited the growth of orthotopic xenografts of Huh7 and HepG2 cells (P < .05), accompanied by increased TGF-β2 expression, reduced cell proliferation (observed by proliferating cell nuclear antigen staining), and enhanced apoptosis (by TUNEL staining). In conclusion, molecular targeting of GPC3 at the translational level offers an effective option for the clinical management of GPC3-positive HCC patients.
This article was published in Neoplasia
and referenced in Journal of Stem Cell Research & Therapy