The aim of this study was to test whether long-term ethanol consumption confers therapeutic resistance to human liver cancer patients infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV). Chronic ethanol-treated cells were established by consecutively culturing a human hepatocellular carcinoma cell line, Hep 3B, which contains integrated HBV sequences, for 20-40 passages with or without 10mM ethanol (designated as E20-E40 and C20-C40, respectively). Flow cytometry analysis demonstrated that a growth promoting effect of long-term ethanol treatment was induced in the E40 cells through preferential acceleration of S-phase in these cells. Lower protein expression levels of p16, p21/Cip1, and p27/Kip1 were detected in the ethanol-treated E40 cells. We further demonstrated that long-term ethanol-treated E40 cells develop drug resistance in response to mitomycin C (MMC) treatment (>8 μM). Immunoblot analysis revealed that caspase-8-mediated mitochondrial apoptotic signals (such as Bad) were inactivated in the MMC-resistant E40 cells. Immunoprecipitation experiments demonstrated that the sequestration of phosphorylated Bad (Ser-112) through its binding with 14-3-3 was detected more profoundly in the MMC-resistant E40 cells. Next, we examined the therapeutic efficacy of MMC (10mg MMC/kg body weight, three times per week) in severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice bearing E40- and C40-xenografted tumors. Significant reductions (>3-fold) in tumor growth were detected in MMC-treated C40-xenografted mice. In vivo and in vitro studies demonstrated that AKT-and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)-mediated survival factors inhibited the Bad-induced mitochondrial apoptotic signals that were involved in E40 tumor cells and that conferred resistance to MMC.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research
- Molecular Biology
Huang, C. S., Lee, Y. R., Chen, C. S., Tu, S. H., Wang, Y. J., Lee, C. H., Chen, L. C., Chang, H. W., Chang, C. H., Su, C-M., Wu, C. H., & Ho, Y. S. (2010). Long-term ethanol exposure causes human liver cancer cells to become resistant to mitomycin c treatment through the inactivation of bad-mediated apoptosis. Molecular Carcinogenesis, 49(8), 728-738. https://doi.org/10.1002/mc.20648