Image_5_Honokiol Suppresses Perineural Invasion of Pancreatic Cancer by Inhibiting SMAD2/3 Signaling.tif
Perineural invasion (PNI) is an important pathologic feature of pancreatic cancer, and the incidence of PNI in pancreatic cancer is 70%-100%. PNI is associated with poor outcome, metastasis, and recurrence in pancreatic cancer patients. There are very few treatments for PNI in pancreatic cancer. Honokiol (HNK) is a natural product that is mainly obtained from Magnolia species and has been indicated to have anticancer activity. HNK also has potent neurotrophic activity and may be effective for suppressing PNI. However, the potential role of HNK in the treatment of PNI in pancreatic cancer has not been elucidated.Methods
In our study, pancreatic cancer cells were treated with vehicle or HNK, and the invasion and migration capacities were assessed by wound scratch assays and Transwell assays. A cancer cell-dorsal root ganglion coculture model was established to evaluate the effect of HNK on the PNI of pancreatic cancer. Western blotting was used to detect markers of EMT and neurotrophic factors in pancreatic tissue. Recombinant TGF-β1 was used to activate SMAD2/3 to verify the effect of HNK on SMAD2/3 and neurotrophic factors. The subcutaneous tumor model and the sciatic nerve invasion model, which were established in transgenic engineered mice harboring spontaneous pancreatic cancer, were used to investigate the mechanism by which HNK inhibits EMT and PNI in vivo.Results
We found that HNK can inhibit the invasion and migration of pancreatic cancer cells. More importantly, HNK can inhibit the PNI of pancreatic cancer. The HNK-mediated suppression of pancreatic cancer PNI was partially mediated by inhibition of SMAD2/3 phosphorylation. In addition, the inhibitory effect of HNK on PNI can be reversed by activating SMAD2/3. In vivo, we found that HNK can suppress EMT in pancreatic cancer. HNK can also inhibit cancer cell migration along the nerve, reduce the damage to the sciatic nerve caused by tumor cells and protect the function of the sciatic nerve.Conclusion
Our results demonstrate that HNK can inhibit the invasion, migration, and PNI of pancreatic cancer by blocking SMAD2/3 phosphorylation, and we conclude that HNK may be a new strategy for suppressing PNI in pancreatic cancer.