J Cancer 2020; 11(7):1828-1838. doi:10.7150/jca.35375 This issue
1. Division of General Surgery, Peking University First Hospital, Peking University, 8 Xi Shiku Street, Beijing, 100034, People's Republic of China.
2. Central laboratory, Peking University First Hospital, Peking University, 8 Xi Shiku Street, Beijing, 100034, People's Republic of China.
* These authors contributed equally to this work, and should be considered as co-first authors.
Background: As the third confirmed gaseous transmitter, the role of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in the pathogenesis of multiple types of cancer has been attracting increasing attention. Increased expression of cystathionine β-synthase (CBS) and H2S in colon cancer tissue samples has been validated and tumor-derived H2S, mainly produced by CBS, stimulates bioenergetics, cell proliferation, and angiogenesis in colon cancer. Recently, the therapeutic manipulation of H2S has been proposed as a promising anticancer approach. However, the effect of aminooxyacetic acid (AOAA), which has been widely used as an inhibitor of CBS dependent synthesis of H2S, on the chemotherapeutic effect of oxaliplatin (OXA) and the underlying mechanisms remain to be illustrated.
Methods: We examined the expression of CBS in human colorectal cancer specimens and matched normal mucosa by immunohistochemistry. The effect of AOAA on the sensitivity of colon cancer cells to OXA and the level of apoptosis induced by caspase cascade was investigated in both HCT116 and HT29 cell lines utilizing CCK-8 assays, flow cytometry analysis and western blot analysis. The endogenous levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) were detected fluorescently by DCF-DA, and glutathione (GSH) levels were measured by a Total GSH Detection Kit. Tumor bearing xenograft mouse models and in vivo imaging systems were further used to investigate the effect of AOAA in vivo and immunohistochemistry (IHC) and TUNEL analysis were performed.
Results: In the current study, we confirmed CBS, the main target of AOAA, is overexpressed in human colorectal cancer by immunohistochemistry. The inhibitory effect of AOAA on the synthesis of H2S was validated utilizing fluorescent probe and specific electrode. AOAA significantly reduced the IC50 values of OXA in both colon cancer cell lines. Co-incubation with AOAA elicited increased apoptosis induced by OXA, featured by increased activation of caspase cascade. Besides, AOAA further increased the levels of ROS induced by OXA and attenuated the synthesis of glutathione (GSH), which is a vital antioxidant. Besides, the results of in vivo imaging and following IHC and TUNEL analysis were in accordance with cellular experiments, indicating that AOAA sensitizes colon cancer cells to OXA via exaggerating intrinsic apoptosis.
Conclusion: The results suggested that CBS is overexpressed in colorectal cancer tissues and AOAA sensitizes colon cancer cells to OXA via exaggerating apoptosis both in vitro and in vivo. Decreasing the endogenous level of GSH and consequently impaired detoxification of ROS might be one of the mechanisms underlying the effect of AOAA.
Keywords: colorectal cancer, oxaliplatin, hydrogen sulfide, AOAA, reactive oxygen species, apoptosis.