Combination of the FGFR4 inhibitor PD173074 and 5-fluorouracil reduces proliferation and promotes apoptosis in gastric cancer

Oncol Rep. 2013 Dec;30(6):2777-84. doi: 10.3892/or.2013.2796. Epub 2013 Oct 11.


Our previous findings revealed that FGFR4 may be a novel therapeutic target for gastric cancer. The aim of the present study was to explore the effects of a combination of PD173074 (PD) and 5-fluorouracil (5-Fu) on the biological behavior of gastric cancer cell lines and the relevant mechanisms involved. MKN45, a gastric cancer cell line, was treated with each single agent alone or a combination of FGF19, PD and 5-Fu. Then, a series of functional assays were performed using CCK-8 assay and flow cytometry. Western blot analysis was used to determine the expression of signaling pathway and downstream-related molecules in the MKN45 cells following the different treatments. As the concentration of PD and 5-Fu increased, the cell viability gradually decreased; the viability of the combination group was less than the viability following single administration. Western blot analysis showed that FGFR4 expression was weak in the 5-Fu-treated groups when compared with the control. PD markedly increased the apoptosis rate of MKN45 cells when compared to the control; the apoptosis rate in the cells treated with the combination of PD and 5-Fu was higher than that in the cells following single treatment. Furthermore, PD reduced the expression of p-ERK and Bcl-xl and increased caspase-3 expression. Inhibition of the activity of FGFR4 may be the main mechanisms of PD effect while 5-Fu reduced FGFR4 expression. Furthermore, the effects of the combination of 5-Fu and PD in inhibiting proliferation, increasing apoptosis and arresting cell cycle were superior to these effects following the single agent treatments, suggesting that the two drugs applied in combination may contribute to the effective treatment of gastric cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Caspase 3 / biosynthesis
  • Caspase 3 / metabolism
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Fluorouracil / pharmacology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Pyrimidines / pharmacology*
  • Receptor, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Type 4 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptor, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Type 4 / biosynthesis
  • Receptor, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Type 4 / genetics*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Stomach Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / genetics
  • Stomach Neoplasms / pathology
  • bcl-X Protein / biosynthesis


  • BCL2L1 protein, human
  • PD 173074
  • Pyrimidines
  • bcl-X Protein
  • FGFR4 protein, human
  • Receptor, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Type 4
  • Caspase 3
  • Fluorouracil