Research Papers:

The cytotoxic effects of regorafenib in combination with protein kinase D inhibition in human colorectal cancer cells

Ning Wei _, Edward Chu, Shao-yu Wu, Peter Wipf and John C. Schmitz

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:4745-4756. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.2938

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Ning Wei1,2, Edward Chu1,2, Shao-yu Wu1,2, Peter Wipf2,3 and John C. Schmitz1,2

1 Division of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

2 Cancer Therapeutics Program, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

3 Department of Chemistry, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA


Ning Wei, email:

Keywords: protein kinase D, regorafenib, human colorectal cancer, apoptosis, NF-κB

Received: August 12, 2014 Accepted: December 02, 2014 Published: December 03, 2014


Metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) remains a major public health problem, and diagnosis of metastatic disease is usually associated with poor prognosis. The multi-kinase inhibitor regorafenib was approved in 2013 in the U.S. for the treatment of mCRC patients who progressed after standard therapies. However, the clinical efficacy of regorafenib is quite limited. One potential strategy to improve mCRC therapy is to combine agents that target key cellular signaling pathways, which may lead to synergistic enhancement of antitumor efficacy and overcome cellular drug resistance. Protein kinase D (PKD), a family of serine/threonine kinases, mediates key signaling pathways implicated in multiple cellular processes. Herein, we evaluated the combination of regorafenib with a PKD inhibitor in several human CRC cells. Using the Chou-Talalay model, the combination index values for this combination treatment demonstrated synergistic effects on inhibition of cell proliferation and clonal formation. This drug combination resulted in induction of apoptosis as determined by flow cytometry, increased PARP cleavage, and decreased activation of the anti-apoptotic protein HSP27. This combination also yielded enhanced inhibition of ERK, AKT, and NF-κB signaling. Taken together, PKD inhibition in combination with regorafenib appears to be a promising strategy for the treatment of mCRC.

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