Thyroid hormone induces cancer cell proliferation through its cell surface receptor integrin αvβ3. Acting via integrin αvβ3, the deaminated T4 analog tetraiodothyroacetic acid (tetrac), and its nanoparticle formulation nano-diamino-tetrac (NDAT) could inhibit cell proliferation and xenograft growth. In this study, we investigated the T4 effects on proliferation in colorectal cancer cell lines based on the proliferation marker expressions at both mRNA and protein levels. The effects of tetrac/NDAT, the monoclonal anti-EGFR antibody cetuximab, and their combinations on colorectal cancer cell proliferation were examined according to the relevant gene expression profiles and cell count analysis. The results showed that T4 significantly enhanced PCNA, Cyclin D1 and c-Myc levels in both K-ras wild type HT-29 and mutant HCT 116 cells. In HCT 116 cells, the combination of NDAT and cetuximab significantly suppressed the mRNA expressions of proliferative genes PCNA, Cyclin D1, c-Myc and RRM2 raised by T4 compared to cetuximab alone. In addition, T4-suppressed mRNA expressions of pro-apoptotic genes p53 and RRM2B could be significantly elevated by the combination of NDAT and cetuximab compared to cetuximab alone. In the K-ras mutant HCT 116 cells, but not in the K-ras wild type COLO 205 cells, the combinations of tetrac/NDAT and cetuximab significantly reduced cell proliferation compared to cetuximab alone. In conclusion, T4 promoted colorectal cancer cell proliferation which could be repressed by tetrac and NDAT. The combinations of tetrac/NDAT and cetuximab potentiated cetuximab actions in K-ras mutant colorectal cancer cells.
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