3-bromopyruvate and buthionine sulfoximine effectively kill anoikis-resistant hepatocellular carcinoma cells

Minjong Lee, Ara Jo, Seulki Lee, Jong Bin Kim, Young Chang, Joon Yeul Nam, Hyeki Cho, Young Youn Cho, Eun Ju Cho, Jeong Hoon Lee, Su Jong Yu, Jung Hwan Yoon, Yoon Jun Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background & aims: Acquisition of anoikis resistance is a prerequisite for metastasis in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, little is known about how energy metabolism and antioxidant systems are altered in anoikis-resistant (AR) HCC cells. We evaluated anti-tumor effects of a combination treatment of 3-bromopyruvate (3-BP) and buthionine sulfoximine (BSO) in AR HCC cells. Methods: We compared glycolysis, reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, and chemoresistance among Huh-BAT, HepG2 HCC cells, and the corresponding AR cells. Expression of hexokinase II, gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase (rGCS), and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) markers in AR cells was assessed. Anti-tumor effects of a combination treatment of 3-BP and BSO were evaluated in AR cells and an HCC xenograft mouse model. Results: AR HCC cells showed significantly higher chemoresistance, glycolysis and lower ROS production than attached cells. Expression of hexokinase II, rGCS, and EMT markers was higher in AR HCC cells than attached cells. A combination treatment of 3-BP/BSO effectively suppressed proliferation of AR HCC cells through apoptosis by blocking glycolysis and enhancing ROS levels. In xenograft mouse models, tumor growth derived from AR HCC cells was significantly suppressed in the group treated with 3-BP/BSO compared to the group treated with 3-BP or sorafenib. Conclusions: These results demonstrated that a combination treatment of 3-BP/BSO had a synergistic anti-tumor effect in an AR HCC model. This strategy may be an effective adjuvant therapy for patients with sorafenib-resistant HCC.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0174271
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Lee et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Dive into the research topics of '3-bromopyruvate and buthionine sulfoximine effectively kill anoikis-resistant hepatocellular carcinoma cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this