Oncotarget 2017 Oct 24;8(47):83195-83206. Epub 2017 Aug 24.
Department of Immunology, School of Medicine, Keimyung University, Daegu 704-701, South Korea.
Sorafenib is approved for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC). However, low tumor response and side effects have been widely reported. Therefore, to improve the efficacy of sorafenib, we investigated whether combined treatment with sorafenib and kahweol, the coffee-specific diterpene, has a synergistic effect on apoptotic cell death. Combined treatment with sorafenib and kahweol markedly induced caspase-mediated apoptosis in renal carcinoma Caki cells. Combined treatment with sorafenib and kahweol induced down-regulation of Mcl-1 and c-FLIP expression. We found down-regulation of Mcl-1 and c-FLIP expression was modulated by the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. Ectopic expression of Mcl-1 inhibited sorafenib plus kahweol-induced apoptosis. Interestingly, combined treatment with sorafenib and kahweol induced apoptotic cell death in c-FLIP overexpressed cells. In addition, combined treatment with sorafenib and kahweol markedly induced apoptosis in human lung carcinoma (A549) and breast carcinoma (MDA-MB-361) cells, but not in human normal mesangial cells and human skin fibroblast cells (HSF). Collectively, our study demonstrates that combined treatment with sorafenib and kahweol induces apoptotic cell death through down-regulation of Mcl-1 expression.