Inhibition of STAT3/VEGF/CDK2 axis signaling is critically involved in the antiangiogenic and apoptotic effects of arsenic herbal mixture PROS in non-small lung cancer cells

Oncotarget. 2017 Oct 19;8(60):101771-101783. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.21973. eCollection 2017 Nov 24.


Despite the antitumor effects of asrsenic trioxide (As2O3), tetraarsenic hexoxide (As4O6 or PR) and tetraarsenic tetrasulfide (As4S4) in several cancers, their adverse poisoning, toxicity and resistance are still hot issues for effective cancer therapy. Here, antitumor mechanism of arsenic herbal mixture PROS including PR and OS (Oldenlandia diffusa and Salvia miltiorrhiza extract) was elucidated in non-small cell lung cancer cells (NSCLCs), since PR alone showed resistant cytotoxicity in NSCLCs compared to other cancers. PROS exerted significant cytotoxicity, induced sub-G1 phase and S phase arrest, increased apoptotic bodies, and attenuated the expression of pro-PARP, Bcl-2, Cyclin E, Cyclin A, CDK2, E2F1, p-Src, p-STAT3, p-ERK, p-AKT, COX-2 and SOCS-1 in A549 and H460 cells along with disrupted binding of STAT3 with CDK2 or VEGF. Notably, PROS inhibited VEGF induced proliferation, migration and tube formation in HUVECs and suppressed angiogenesis in chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) assay via reduced phosphorylation of VEGFR2, Src and STAT3. Consistently, PROS reduced the growth of H460 cells implanted in BALB/c athymic nude mice via inhibition of STAT3, and VEGF and activation of caspase 3. Overall, these findings suggest that PROS exerts antiangiogenic and apoptotic effects via inhibition of STAT3/ VEGF/ CDK2 axis signaling as a potent anticancer agent for lung cancer treatment.

Keywords: STAT3; angiogenesis; apoptosis; arsenic herbal mixture; non-small cell lung cancer.