Anti-tumor and anti-invasion effects of a combination of 4-methylumbelliferone and ionizing radiation in human fibrosarcoma cells

Oncol Lett. 2017 Jan;13(1):410-416. doi: 10.3892/ol.2016.5385. Epub 2016 Nov 15.


Hyaluronan (HA) is a major component of the extracellular matrix that is synthesized in excess in cancer tissues. 4-methylumbelliferone (MU) inhibits the synthesis of HA and is closely related to the invasion and metastasis of cancer. However, the effects of MU in conjunction with cancer radiotherapy remain unknown. The present study assessed the anti-tumor and anti-invasion effects of the concomitant use of ionizing radiation (IR) and 100 µM MU on human fibrosarcoma HT1080 cells. Cell viability and cellular invasion potency assays were performed. There was a greater decrease in the viability of cells cultured with a combination of 2 Gy IR and MU compared with untreated control cells. In addition, cell cycle distribution analysis demonstrated that a higher proportion of these cells were in the sub-G1 phase and higher fractions of annexin-V positive, propidium iodide positive cells (i.e., apoptotic cells) were observed. HA concentration in the 2 Gy irradiated culture was similar to that in the non-irradiated control culture, however, it significantly decreased following the administration of both MU alone and 2 Gy IR with MU. Furthermore, treatment with 2 Gy IR and MU resulted in a significant decrease in the invasion rate and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and MPP-9 expression. Taken together, these results suggest that the administration of MU with 2 Gy IR is effective at reducing HA production, cell invasion and the metastatic potential of cancer cells.

Keywords: 4-methylumbelliferone; cellular invasion; human fibrosarcoma; hyaluronic acid; radiotherapy.