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16 March 2020 : Clinical Research  

Dihydroartemisinin Prevents Distant Metastasis of Laryngeal Carcinoma by Inactivating STAT3 in Cancer Stem Cells

Weiyi Wang1ABCDEF, Yajing Sun2CDEF, Xiaoming Li1ABCDEFG*, Xinli Shi3ADEF, Zhen Li2DEF, Xiuying Lu2ABDEF

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.922348

Med Sci Monit 2020; 26:e922348

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Accumulating evidence indicates that cancer stem cells (CSCs) are a minor subpopulation of cancer cells that may be the primary source of cancer invasion, migration, and widespread metastasis.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: We investigated the effects of dihydroartemisinin (DHA) on distant metastasis of laryngeal carcinoma and the relevant mechanism. In vitro, we used the Hep-2 human laryngeal squamous carcinoma cell line (Hep-2 cells) to assemble CSCs, using CD133 as the cell surface marker. Our data demonstrate that the CD133⁺ subpopulation of Hep-2 cells has greater invasion and migration capabilities than CD133⁻ cells. We also evaluated the effects of DHA, a newly defined STAT3 inhibitor, on the invasion and migration of CD133⁺ Hep-2 cells under hypoxia and IL-6 stimulation, both of which can activate STAT3 phosphorylation.

RESULTS: CSCs exhibited a significant decrease in the ability of migration and invasion upon the application of DHA, along with simultaneous alterations in related proteins, both in cultured cells and in xenograft tumors. The associated signaling proteins included phosphorylated STAT3 (p-STAT3), matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), and E-cadherin, which are closely involved in cancer invasion and metastasis. In vivo, we found that DHA can reduce lung metastasis formation caused by CSCs and prolong survival in mice, and can inhibit STAT3 activation, downregulate MMP-9, and upregulate E-cadherin in lung metastatic tumors.

CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, our findings indicate that CSCs possess stronger invasive and metastatic capabilities than non-CSCs, and DHA inhibits invasion and prevents metastasis induced by CSCs by inhibiting STAT3 activation.

Keywords: Laryngeal Neoplasms, Neoplastic Stem Cells, Artemisinins, Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Head and Neck

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Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750
Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750