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  • Simultaneous inhibition of EGFR/VEGFR and cyclooxygenase-2 targets stemness-related pathways in colorectal cancer cells.

Simultaneous inhibition of EGFR/VEGFR and cyclooxygenase-2 targets stemness-related pathways in colorectal cancer cells.

PloS one (2015-06-25)
Araceli Valverde, Jon Peñarando, Amanda Cañas, Laura M López-Sánchez, Francisco Conde, Vanessa Hernández, Esther Peralbo, Chary López-Pedrera, Juan de la Haba-Rodríguez, Enrique Aranda, Antonio Rodríguez-Ariza
ABSTRACT

Despite the demonstrated benefits of anti-EGFR/VEGF targeted therapies in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), many patients initially respond, but then show evidence of disease progression. New therapeutic strategies are needed to make the action of available drugs more efficient. Our study aimed to explore whether simultaneous targeting of EGFR/VEGF and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) may aid the treatment and management of mCRC patients. The dual tyrosine kinase inhibitor AEE788 and celecoxib were used to inhibit EGFR/VEGFR and COX-2, respectively, in colorectal cancer cells. COX-2 inhibition with celecoxib augmented the antitumoral and antiangiogenic efficacy of AEE788, as indicated by the inhibition of cell proliferation, induction of apoptosis and G1 cell cycle arrest, down-regulation of VEGF production by cancer cells and reduction of cell migration. These effects were related with a blockade in the EGFR/VEGFR signaling axis. Notably, the combined AEE788/celecoxib treatment prevented β-catenin nuclear accumulation in tumor cells. This effect was associated with a significant downregulation of FOXM1 protein levels and an impairment in the interaction of this transcription factor with β-catenin, which is required for its nuclear localization. Furthermore, the combined treatment also reduced the expression of the stem cell markers Oct 3/4, Nanog, Sox-2 and Snail in cancer cells, and contributed to the diminution of the CSC subpopulation, as indicated by colonosphere formation assays. In conclusion, the combined treatment of AEE788 and celecoxib not only demonstrated enhanced anti-tumoral efficacy in colorectal cancer cells, but also reduced colon CSCs subpopulation by targeting stemness-related pathways. Therefore, the simultaneous targeting of EGFR/VEGF and COX-2 may aid in blocking mCRC progression and improve the efficacy of existing therapies in colorectal cancer.

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CACO-2, Caucasian colon adenocarcinoma