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Low-dose eribulin mesylate exerts antitumor effects in gastric cancer by inhibiting fibrosis via the suppression of epithelial–mesenchymal transition and acts synergistically with 5-fluorouracil

Authors Kurata T, Fushida S, Kinoshita J, Oyama K, Yamaguchi T, Okazaki M, Miyashita T, Tajima H, Ninomiya I, Ohta T

Received 10 March 2018

Accepted for publication 27 May 2018

Published 15 August 2018 Volume 2018:10 Pages 2729—2742

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CMAR.S167846

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Antonella D'Anneo


Toru Kurata, Sachio Fushida, Jun Kinoshita, Katsunobu Oyama, Takahisa Yamaguchi, Mitsuyoshi Okazaki, Tomoharu Miyashita, Hidehiro Tajima, Itasu Ninomiya, Tetsuo Ohta

Department of Gastroenterological Surgery, Division of Cancer Medicine, Graduate School of Medical Science, Kanazawa University, Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan

Background: Characterized by aggressive proliferation, extensive stromal fibrosis, and resulting drug resistance, peritoneal dissemination in gastric cancer remains associated with poor prognosis. Interaction between cancer and stromal cells accelerates tumor progression via epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT), which is one of the major causes of tissue fibrosis, and human peritoneal mesothelial cells (HPMCs) play important roles as cancer stroma in peritoneal dissemination. Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) has a pivotal function in the progression of EMT, and Smad proteins play an important role in the TGF-β signaling pathway. Eribulin mesylate (eribulin), a nontaxane microtubule dynamics inhibitor used for the treatment of advanced breast cancer, inhibits EMT changes in triple-negative breast cancer cells. We examined its ability to inhibit tumor progression and EMT changes resulting from the interaction between gastric cancer cells and HPMCs and to act synergistically with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), a key drug for gastric cancer.
Materials and methods: Proliferation of gastric cancer cells and HPMCs isolated from healthy omentum was assessed by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay. Following gastric cancer cell/HPMC coculture, EMT markers were detected by immunofluorescence, immunohistochemistry, and Western blotting; invasion assays were performed; and TGF-β and Smad phosphorylation were assessed by Western blotting and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. A mouse fibrotic tumor xenograft model was established using gastric cancer cell/HPMC cocultures. The effect of eribulin and/or 5-FU was tested in each case.
Results: Eribulin significantly suppressed gastric cancer cell proliferation and EMT changes in MKN-45 gastric cancer cells and HPMCs induced by their interaction in vitro. Eribulin inhibited EMT at much lower concentrations (≥0.5 nM for MKN-45 and ≥0.1 nM for HPMCs) than its half maximal inhibitory concentrations (2.2 nM for MKN-45 and 8.1 nM for HPMCs), and this resulted, at least partly, from the downregulation of TGF-β/Smad signaling. Eribulin administration of ≥0.1 mg/kg suppressed tumor progression (0.1 mg/kg, p=0.02), and fibrosis was inhibited by lower dose (0.05 mg/kg, p=0.008) in the xenograft model. Furthermore, 0.05 mg/kg administration with 5-FU brought about synergistic antitumor effects (p=0.006).
Conclusion: Low-dose eribulin combined with 5-FU might be a promising therapy for peritoneal dissemination in gastric cancer.

Keywords: peritoneal dissemination, cancer–stromal interaction, human peritoneal mesothelial cell, TGF-β, Smad, synergism

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