Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is still one of the major causes of cancer-related death. Kinetochore-associated protein 2 (KNTC2) is specifically upregulated in tumor tissues of HCC patients and recognized as a potential candidate target for the treatment of HCC. However, the relationship between KNTC2 and in vivo tumor growth of HCC is not yet fully understood. Here we encapsulated KNTC2 siRNAs into a lipid nanoparticle (LNP) and investigated their knockdown activity, target engagement marker, anti-tumor activity and hepatotoxicity in an orthotopic HCC model mice of Hep3B-luc cells. Single i.v. administration of KNTC2 siRNA-LNP specifically suppressed the expression levels of both human KNTC2 mRNA and mouse Kntc2 mRNA in tumor tissues. Phosphorylation levels of histone H3 (HH3) at serine 10 in tumor tissues were increased by KNTC2 siRNA-LNP. Repeated administration of KNTC2 siRNA-LNP (twice a week) specifically inhibited the growth of tumor tissues without increasing the plasma AST and ALT levels. Their growth inhibitory activities were consistent with knockdown activities. These data strongly indicated that KNTC2 is a promising target for the treatment of HCC and that phosphorylated HH3 at serine 10 is one of the target engagement markers for KNTC2.
Keywords: Hepatocellular carcinoma; Histone H3; Kinetochore-associated protein 2; Lipid nanoparticle; Orthotopic tumor model; siRNA.
Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.