Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a biologically aggressive cancer. Targeted therapy is in need to tackle challenges in the treatment perspective. A growing body of evidence suggests a promising role of pharmacological inhibition of PIM (proviral integration site for Moloney murine leukaemia virus) kinase in some human haematological and solid cancers. Yet to date, the potential application of PIM inhibitors in HCC is still largely unexplored. In the present study we investigated the pre-clinical efficacy of PIM inhibition as a therapeutic approach in HCC. Effects of PIM inhibitors on cell proliferation, migration, invasion, chemosensitivity, and self-renewal were examined in vitro. The effects of PIM inhibitors on tumour growth and chemoresistance in vivo were studied using xenograft mouse models. Potential downstream molecular mechanisms were elucidated by RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) of tumour tissues harvested from animal models. Our findings demonstrate that PIM inhibitors SGI-1776 and PIM447 reduced HCC proliferation, metastatic potential, and self-renewal in vitro. Results from in vivo experiments supported the role of PIM inhibition in suppressing of tumour growth and increasing chemosensitivity of HCC toward cisplatin and doxorubicin, the two commonly used chemotherapeutic agents in trans-arterial chemoembolisation (TACE) for HCC. RNA-seq analysis revealed downregulation of the MAPK/ERK pathway upon PIM inhibition in HCC cells. In addition, LOXL2 and ICAM1 were identified as potential downstream effectors. Taken together, PIM inhibitors demonstrated remarkable anti-tumourigenic effects in HCC in vitro and in vivo. PIM kinase inhibition is a potential approach to be exploited in formulating adjuvant therapy for HCC patients of different disease stages.
- PIM kinase
- liver cancer
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine