Oncotarget. 2017 Dec 5 ;8(63):106833-106843. Epub 2017 Oct 16. PMID: 29290992
Oridonin synergistically enhances JQ1-triggered apoptosis in hepatocellular cancer cells through mitochondrial pathway.
Bromodomain and Extra-Terminal Domain (BET) inhibitors, such as JQ1 have emerged as novel drug candidates and are being enthusiastically pursued in clinical trials for the treatment of cancer. However, many solid cancers are resistance to BET inhibitors. To explore methods for improving the therapeutic potential of BET inhibitors, we investigated the combinational activity of JQ1 with Oridonin, a bioactive molecules derived from Traditional Chinese Medicine in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells. Our results showed that Oridonin synergistically enhanced the abilities of JQ1 to inhibit cell viability in HCC cells and, significantly augmented JQ1-triggered apoptosis in HCC cells and in HCC cancer stem-like cells. Moreover, Oridonin dose-dependently inhibited the expression of several anti-apoptotic proteins, such as Bcl-2, Mcl-1, and x-linked inhibitor of apoptosis (xIAP) in HCC cells. Cell fractionation and western blotting analysis showed that the enhancement of apoptosis by Oridonin was associated with cytochrome c release, activation of caspase-9, -3 and cleavage of PARP, indicating the activation of mitochondrial apoptosis pathway. Altogether, our findings demonstrate that Oridonin may be used to effectively enhance the sensitivity of BET inhibitors in HCC therapy via downregulation of the expression of multiple anti-apoptotic proteins.