Tumor Microenvironment Alters Chemoresistance of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Through CYP3A4 Metabolic Activity [article]

Alican Ozkan, Danielle L. Stolley, Erik N. K. Cressman, Matthew McMillin, Sharon DeMorrow, Thomas E. Yankeelov, Marissa Nichole Rylander
2021 bioRxiv   pre-print
Variations in tumor biology from patient to patient combined with the low overall survival rate of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) present significant clinical challenges. During the progression of chronic liver diseases from inflammation to the development of HCC, microenvironmental properties, including tissue stiffness and oxygen concentration, change over time. This can potentially impact drug metabolism and subsequent therapy response to commonly utilized therapeutics, such as doxorubicin,
more » ... ulti-kinase inhibitors (e.g., sorafenib), and other drugs, including immunotherapies. In this study, we utilized four common HCC cell lines embedded in 3D collagen type-I gels of varying stiffnesses to mimic normal and cirrhotic livers with environmental oxygen regulation to quantify the impact of these microenvironmental factors on HCC chemoresistance. In general, we found that HCC cells with higher baseline levels of cytochrome p450-3A4 (CYP3A4) enzyme expression, HepG2, and C3Asub28, exhibited a cirrhosis-dependent increase in doxorubicin chemoresistance. Under the same conditions, HCC cell lines with lower CYP3A4 expression, HuH-7, and Hep3B2, showed a decrease in doxorubicin chemoresistance in response to an increase in microenvironmental stiffness. This differential therapeutic response was correlated with the regulation of CYP3A4 expression levels under the influence of stiffness and oxygen variation. In all tested HCC cell lines, the addition of sorafenib lowered the required doxorubicin dose to induce significant levels of cell death, demonstrating its potential to help reduce systemic doxorubicin toxicity when used in combination. These results suggest that patient-specific tumor microenvironmental factors, including tissue stiffness, hypoxia, and CYP3A4 activity levels, may need to be considered for more effective use of chemotherapeutics in HCC patients.
doi:10.1101/2021.01.23.427874 fatcat:duj7xs6bafb45j22uepwxmr6au