Research Papers:

Pyroptosis is involved in the pathogenesis of human hepatocellular carcinoma

Qun Chu, Yanan Jiang, Wei Zhang, Chaoqian Xu, Weijie Du, Gulnara Tuguzbaeva, Ying Qin, Anqi Li, Liangshuan Zhang, Guiyuan Sun, Yongqiao Cai, Qiang Feng, Guiyang Li, Yanyao Li, Zhimin Du, Yunlong Bai _ and Baofeng Yang

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:84658-84665. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.12384

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Qun Chu1,*, Yanan Jiang1,*, Wei Zhang2, Chaoqian Xu1, Weijie Du1, Gulnara Tuguzbaeva3, Ying Qin2, Anqi Li1, Liangshuan Zhang1, Guiyuan Sun1, Yongqiao Cai1, Qiang Feng1, Guiyang Li1, Yanyao Li1, Zhimin Du4, Yunlong Bai1,2, Baofeng Yang1,2,5

1Department of Pharmacology (State-Province Key Laboratories of Biomedicine- Pharmaceutics of China, Key Laboratory of Cardiovascular Research, Ministry of Education), College of Pharmacy, Harbin Medical University, Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, P. R. China

2Institute of Medical Sciences of Heilongjiang Province, Harbin, P.R. China

3Central Laboratory of Scientific Research, Bashkir State Medical University, Ufa, Republic Bashkortostan, Russian Federation

4Institute of Clinical Pharmacology, the Second Affiliated Hospital, Harbin Medical University (Key Laboratory of Drug Development, Universities of Heilongjiang Province), Heilongjiang Province, P. R. China

5Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Melbourne School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australian

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Yunlong Bai, email: [email protected]

Baofeng Yang, email: [email protected]

Keywords: hepatocellular carcinoma, pyroptosis, caspase-1, berberine

Received: March 23, 2016    Accepted: September 24, 2016    Published: October 1, 2016


Pyroptosis is a caspase-1 dependent programmed cell death, which is involved in the pathologic process of several kinds of cancers. Loss of caspase-1 gene expression has been observed in prostate and gastric cancers. However, the role of pyroptosis in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remains largely unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate the involvement of pyroptosis in the pathogenesis of HCC. Our study showed that pyroptosis was inhibited in HCC tissues and cells. Administration of berberine inhibited the viability, migration and invasion capacity of HepG2 cells through the induction of pyroptosis both in vitro and in vivo, which was attenuated by caspase-1 inhibitor Ac-YVAD-CMK. Conclusively, pyroptosis is involved in the pathogenesis of HCC, and may be a new neoplastic target for the treatment of HCC.

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