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High-intensity focused ultrasound enhances the effect of bufalin by inducing apoptosis in pancreatic cancer cells

Authors Ning Z, Zhu Z, Wang H, Zhang C, Xu L, Zhuang L, Yan X, Wang D, Wang P, Meng Z

Received 31 August 2018

Accepted for publication 13 January 2019

Published 12 February 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 1161—1170


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Yao Dai

Zhouyu Ning,1,2,* Zhenfeng Zhu,1,2,* Haiyong Wang,1,3 Chenyue Zhang,1,2 Litao Xu,1,2 Liping Zhuang,1,2 Xia Yan,1,2 Dan Wang,1,2 Peng Wang,1,2 Zhiqiang Meng1,2

1Department of Integrative Oncology, Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center, Shanghai, China; 2Department of Oncology, Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University, Shanghai, China; 3Department of Radiotherapy, Shandong Cancer Hospital, Shandong, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Purpose: High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) has the potential to be an effective therapeutic strategy for pancreatic cancer (PC). However, owing to the high malignancy and poor prognosis of PC, the use of HIFU therapy alone is not sufficient to impair the progression of PC. Bufalin, a compound extracted from traditional medicine, is known to inhibit the growth and progression of PC cells. However, the effect of the combination therapy of HIFU plus bufalin (HIFU+bufalin) is still uncertain.
Materials and methods: A colony formation assay and flow cytometry were performed to measure the growth and induction of apoptosis in PC cells. Western blotting was used to explore the potential mechanism of HIFU and bufalin therapy. The in vivo efficacy of HIFU+bufalin was tested in a MiaPaCa2 xenograft model.
Results: Bufalin inhibited the growth of PC cells more obviously compared to HIFU. Combining bufalin with HIFU further decreased the growth of MiaPaCa2 cells compared with single therapy in vitro. Flow cytometry results showed that the percentage of surviving MiaPaCa2 cells in the bufalin-treated group and the HIFU-treated group was approximately three-fold and two-fold higher than in the HIFU+bufalin-treated group. Contrasting results were found in Panc-1 cells. Biochemical analysis revealed that HIFU+bufalin treatment elevated PARP expression and increased caspase-8 activation in MiaPaCa2 and Panc-1 cells. HIFU+bufalin significantly reduced the growth of MiaPaCa2 tumors compared with HIFU or bufalin treatment alone. HIFU+bufalin treatment decreased Ki67 staining and increased activated caspase-3 and caspase 8 staining, when compared with HIFU or bufalin treatment alone in mouse tumors.
Conclusion: HIFU enhanced the effect of bufailn by inducing apoptosis in PC cells. A ­combination of HIFU and bufalin may be employed as an alternative therapeutic strategy for PC.

Keywords: extracorporeal shockwave therapy, bufalin, apoptosis, pancreatic neoplasms

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