Synergistic inhibitory effect of hyperbaric oxygen combined with sorafenib on hepatoma cells

Hai Shan Peng, Ming Bin Liao, Mei Yin Zhang, Yin Xie, Li Xu, Yao Jun Zhang, X. F.Steven Zheng, Hui Yun Wang, Yi Fei Chen

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11 Scopus citations


Objectives: Hypoxia is a common phenomenon in solid tumors, associated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy resistance, recurrence and metastasis. Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy can increase tissue oxygen pressure and content to prevent the resistance, recurrence and metastasis of cancer. Presently, Sorafenib is a first-line drug, targeted for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) but effective in only a small portion of patients and can induce hypoxia. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of HBO in combination with sorafenib on hepatoma cells. Methods: Hepatoma cell lines (BEL-7402 and SK-Hep1) were treated with HBO at 2 atmosphere absolute pressure for 80 min per day or combined with sorafenib or cisplatin. At different time points, cells were tested for cell growth, colony formation, apoptosis, cell cycle and migration. Finally, miRNA from the hepatoma cells was detected by microRNA array and validated by qRT-PCR. Results: Although HBO, sorafenib or cisplatin alone could inhibit growth of hepatoma cells, HBO combined with sorafenib or cisplatin resulted in much greater synergistic growth inhibition (cell proliferation and colony formation) in hepatoma cells. Similarly, the synergistic effect of HBO and sorafenib on induction of apoptosis was also observed in hepatoma cells. HBO induced G1 arrest in SK-Hep1 not in BEL-7402 cells, but enhanced cell cycle arrest induced by sorafenib in BEL-7402 treated cells. However, HBO had no obvious effect on the migration of hepatoma cells, and microRNA array analysis showed that hepatoma cells with HBO treatment had significantly different microRNA expression profiles from those with blank control. Conclusions: We show for the first time that HBO combined with sorafenib results in synergistic growth inhibition and apoptosis in hepatoma cells, suggesting a potential application of HBO combined with sorafenib in HCC patients. Additionally, we also show that HBO significantly altered microRNA expression in hepatoma cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere100814
JournalPloS one
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 23 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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    Peng, H. S., Liao, M. B., Zhang, M. Y., Xie, Y., Xu, L., Zhang, Y. J., Zheng, X. F. S., Wang, H. Y., & Chen, Y. F. (2014). Synergistic inhibitory effect of hyperbaric oxygen combined with sorafenib on hepatoma cells. PloS one, 9(6), [e100814].