The role of hERG1 ion channels in epithelial-mesenchymal transition and the capacity of riluzole to reduce cisplatin resistance in colorectal cancer cells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: The transition of cells from the epithelial to the mesenchymal state (EMT) plays an important role in tumor progression. EMT allows cells to acquire mobility, stem-like behavior and resistance to apoptosis and drug treatment. These features turn EMT into a central process in tumor biology. Ion channels are attractive targets for the treatment of cancer since they play critical roles in controlling a wide range of physiological processes that are frequently deregulated in cancer. Here, we investigated the role of ether-a-go-go-related 1 (hERG1) ion channels in the EMT of colorectal cancer cells. Methods: We studied the epithelial-mesenchymal profile of different colorectal cancer-derived cell lines and the expression of hERG1 potassium channels in these cell lines using real-time PCR. Next, we knocked down hERG1 expression in HCT116 cells using lentivirus mediated RNA interference and characterized the hERG1 silenced cells in vitro and in vivo. Finally, we investigated the capacity of riluzole, an ion channel-modulating drug used in humans to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, to reduce the resistance of the respective colorectal cancer cells to the chemotherapeutic drug cisplatin. Results: We found that of the colorectal cancer-derived cell lines tested, HCT116 showed the highest mesenchymal profile and a high hERG1 expression. Subsequent hERG1 expression knockdown induced a change in cell morphology, which was accompanied by a reduction in the proliferative and tumorigenic capacities of the cells. Notably, we found that hERG1expression knockdown elicited a reversion of the EMT profile in HCT116 cells with a reacquisition of the epithelial-like profile. We also found that riluzole increased the sensitivity of HCT116 cisplatin-resistant cells to cisplatin. Conclusions: Our data indicate that hERG1 plays a role in the EMT of colorectal cancer cells and that its knockdown reduces the proliferative and tumorigenic capacities of these cells. In addition, we conclude that riluzole may be used in combination with cisplatin to reduce chemo-resistance in colorectal cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)367-378
Number of pages12
JournalCellular Oncology
Volume40
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017

Keywords

  • cisplatin
  • colorectal cancer
  • EMT
  • hERG1
  • ion channels
  • riluzole
  • RNAi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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