Rho-kinase inhibitor, fasudil, suppresses glioblastoma cell line progression in vitro and in vivo

Cancer Biol Ther. 2010 Jun 1;9(11):875-84. doi: 10.4161/cbt.9.11.11634. Epub 2010 Jun 26.


There is growing evidence that the Rho/Rho-kinase (ROCK) signaling pathway is upregulated in tumors and plays a key role in cancer invasion and proliferation. The aim of this study was to explore the anti-tumor effects of Rho/ROCK inhibitor, fasudil, including the possible mechanisms involved in the suppression of the glioblastoma (GBM) cell line progression in vitro and in vivo. After T98G and U251 cells were treated with various concentrations of fasudil, Y27632, and ROCK siRNA, the effects of ROCK inhibitors on migration, invasion, invasion-related gene expressions, proliferation and apoptosis of cultured tumor cells were examined. The results indicated that fasudil significantly inhibited not only proliferation, migration and invasiveness (p < 0.05) but also the mRNA and protein expressions of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) in a dose-dependent manner. Moreover, fasudil treatment resulted in a dose-dependent increase of apoptosis in T98G and U251. The intracranial xenograft models were established. The cryosection of the tumor and the survival time of mice in each group indicated that fasudil could inhibit glioma invasion and growth in vivo. Based on the results, fasudil suppresses the progression of GBM in vitro and in vivo by inhibiting ROCK. This could be linked to the decreased MMP-2 expression and the induction of apoptosis in tumor cells. The Rho/ROCK signaling pathway may prove to be a promising target in anti-tumor therapy. Fasudil may be an attractive anti-tumor drug candidate for the treatment of GBM.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 1-(5-Isoquinolinesulfonyl)-2-Methylpiperazine / analogs & derivatives*
  • 1-(5-Isoquinolinesulfonyl)-2-Methylpiperazine / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Disease Progression
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects
  • Glioblastoma / metabolism
  • Glioblastoma / pathology
  • Glioblastoma / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2 / genetics
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2 / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Nude
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • RNA Interference
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Tumor Burden / drug effects
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays*
  • rho-Associated Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • rho-Associated Kinases / genetics
  • rho-Associated Kinases / metabolism


  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • 1-(5-Isoquinolinesulfonyl)-2-Methylpiperazine
  • rho-Associated Kinases
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2
  • fasudil