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Inhibition of anaplastic lymphoma kinase promotes apoptosis and suppresses proliferation in human hepatocellular carcinoma

Yu, Zhen; Zhao, Ronglei

doi: 10.1097/CAD.0000000000000616

Our study was to examine the roles of crizotinib and ceritinib in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells and explore the possible mechanisms. MTT assay was employed to examine the proliferation of five HCC cell lines treated with various concentrations of crizotinib or ceritinib. HepG2 and HCCLM3 cells were incubated with 2 nmol/l ceritinib for 1 week, followed by crystal violet staining and cell counting. Protein amounts of t-ALK, p-ALK, t-AKT, p-AKT, t-ERK, p-ERK, Mcl-1, survivin, and XIAP in HepG2 cells under different culture conditions were evaluated by western blot. HepG2 and HCCLM3 cells were treated with vehicle or ceritinib and measured by flow cytometry apoptosis analysis with Annexin-V/propidium iodide staining. MTT assay showed that both crizotinib and ceritinib suppressed the proliferation of various human HCC cells. Crystal violet staining analysis also indicated that ceritinib effectively inhibited human HCC cell proliferation. Western blot analysis indicated that both crizotinib and ceritinib inhibited ALK, AKT, and ERK phosphorylations. In addition, ceritinib reduced antiapoptotic gene expressions in HepG2 cells. Flow cytometry analysis indicated that ceritinib induced HepG2 and HCCLM3 cells apoptosis. ALK inhibitor exhibited antitumor effects by inhibiting ALK activation, repressing AKT and ERK pathways, and suppressing antiapoptotic gene expressions, which subsequently promoted apoptosis and suppressed HCC cell proliferations.

Department of Intervention, Liaocheng People’s Hospital, Liaocheng, Shandong, China

Correspondence to Ronglei Zhao, MD, Department of Intervention, Liaocheng People’s Hospital, No. 67 Dongchang Western Road, Liaocheng 252000, Shandong, China Tel/fax: +86 133 462 56817; e-mail:

Received December 6, 2017

Accepted February 19, 2018

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