1. Department of Biological Sciences, National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohsiung 80424, Taiwan.
2. School of Medicine, College of Medicine, National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohsiung 80424, Taiwan.
3. Department of Medical Research, China Medical University Hospital, China Medical University, Taichung 404, Taiwan.
4. International PhD Program for Science, National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohsiung 80424, Taiwan.
5. Aerosol Science Research Center, National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohsiung 80424, Taiwan.
Thyroid cancer has been known as the most common endocrine malignancy. Although majority of thyroid cancer types respond well to conventional treatment including surgery and radioactive iodine therapy, about 10% of those with differentiated thyroid cancer will present distant metastasis and will have persistent or recurrent disease. Even more serious is a rare type of thyroid cancer called anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC), which accounts for about 1%, has been demonstrated as the most lethal and aggressive form of human malignancy. Unfortunately, these tumors are also frequently resistant to traditional therapy. Previous study have shown that Salmonella inhibits tumor growth, in part, by inducing autophagy - a cellular process that is important in the innate and adaptive immunity in response to viral or bacterial infection. In our study, we intended to investigate whether Salmonella can inhibit tumor growth by inducing autophagy, specifically in thyroid cancer and elucidate the possible molecular mechanism. In order to determine the signaling pathway involved in tumor cell autophagy, we used Salmonella to treat ATC cells line ASH-3 and KMH-2 in vitro. The autophagic markers, particularly autophagy-related gene 6 (Beclin-1), microtubule-associated protein 1A/1B-light chain 3 (LC3) and p62, were observed to be differentially expressed after infection with Salmonella indicating an activated autophagy in ATC cells. In addition, the protein expression levels of phospho-protein kinase B (P-AKT), phospho-mammalian targets of rapamycin (P-mTOR), phospho-p70 ribosomal s6 kinase (P-p70S6K) in tumor cells were decreased after Salmonella infection. In vivo, we also found that substantial cell numbers of Salmonella targeted tumor tissue, and regulated anti-tumor mechanisms. Our findings showed that Salmonella activated autophagic signaling pathway and inhibited ATC tumor growth via downregulation of AKT/mTOR pathway.
Keywords: anaplastic thyroid cancer, Salmonella, Autophagy, AKT/mTOR