Liver cancer is one of the common malignancies in many countries and an increasing cause of cancer death. Despite of that, there are few therapeutic options available with inconsistent outcome, raising a need for developing alternative therapeutic options. Through a drug repositioning screening, we identified and investigated the action mechanism of the Riluzole, an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) drug, on hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) therapy. Treatment of the Riluzole leads to a suppression of cell proliferation in liver primary cancer cells and cancer cell lines. In addition, Riluzole induced caspase-dependent apoptosis and G2/M cell cycle arrest in SNU449 and Huh7 cell lines. In a line with the known function of glutamate release inhibitor, we found Riluzole-treated cells have increased the level of inner cellular glutamate that in turn decrease the glutathione (GSH) level and finally augment the reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. We confirm this finding in vivo by showing the Riluzole-induced GSH and ROS changes in a Huh7 xenograft cancer model. Altogether, these data suggest the anti-cancer effect of Riluzole on hepatocellular carcinoma and the suppression of glutamate signaling might be a new target pathway for HCC therapy.
- Drug repositioning
- Hepatocellular carcinoma