Department of Geriatric Gastroenterology, Neuroendocrine Tumor Center, Jiangsu Province Hospital, The First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, Institute of Neuroendocrine Tumor, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China.
*These authors contributed equally.
Background: Orlistat is an antiobesity drug approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with potential antitumor activity against a few malignant tumors, however, whether orlistat affects the progression of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (pNETs) remains unknown.
Methods: Protein and mRNA levels of FASN were measured using western blotting (WB) and qRT-PCR. The effects of FASN and orlistat on cell proliferation were examined using CCK-8, colony formation, and EdU assays. The effects of FASN and orlistat on cell migration and invasion were tested using a transwell assay. A lipid peroxidation assay was used to explore the effects of orlistat on ferroptosis. The function of orlistat in vivo was determined by xenograft in nude mice.
Results: Based on the results of WB and qRT-PCR, FASN was significantly up-regulated in pNET cell lines and public database indicated increased expression of FASN correlated with poor prognosis for patients with pNET. CCK-8, colony formation, and EdU assays showed that knockdown of FASN or treatment with orlistat suppressed the proliferation of pNET cells. The transwell assay indicated that the knockdown of FASN or treatment with orlistat inhibited the migration and invasion of pNET cells. WB and the peroxidation assay showed that orlistat induced ferroptosis in pNET cells. Moreover, orlistat was also found to inhibit the MAPK pathway in pNETs. Furthermore, orlistat showed excellent anti-tumor effects in xenografts in nude mice.
Conclusion: Altogether, our study demonstrates that orlistat inhibits the progression of pNETs by inducing ferroptosis mediated by inactivation of the MAPK signaling pathway. Therefore, orlistat is a promising candidate for the treatment of pNETs.
Keywords: orlistat, FASN, pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, ferroptosis, MAPK pathway