For hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a leading cause of cancer death world-wide, there is no effective therapy especially for the advanced stage of the disease. Thus, we started the investigations about a novel anti HCC approach based on the depletion of the transcription factor serum response factor (SRF) in HCC cell lines; SRF choice was based on its recently proposed contribution to HCC tissue development and on its important role in cell proliferation.
SRF depletion, obtained by a siRNA (siSRF797), was studied in two HCC cell lines, i.e. HepG2 and JHH6 assigned to high and low hepatocytic differentiation grade on the base of the capacity to synthesize albumin.
In the HCC cell lines examined, siSRF797 reduced both the mRNA and protein levels of SRF without inducing unspecific interferon response or cytotoxicity. Moreover, SRF depletion induced the reduction of S-phase cells and a decrease in cell number and vitality. Particularly in HepG2, cell growth impairment was paralleled by the decrease of the levels of the transcription factor E2F1 together with some of its regulated genes. In HepG2 but not in JHH6, SRF depletion was associated with apoptosis. Finally, in both HepG2 and JHH6, the combined administration of siSRF797 and bortezomib, a proteasome inhibitor whose therapeutic potential for HCC is considered attractive, further reduced cell viability compared to either siSRF797 or bortezomib treatment alone.
In conclusion, SRF depletion affects the expansion of the high and low differentiation grade HCC cells HepG2 and JHH6. These results can pave the way to understand the role of SRF in HCC development and possibly to identify novel anti HCC therapeutic strategies. (C) 2010 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.