Flavokawain B (FKB), a natural kava chalcone, shows potent antitumor activity in various types of cancer, although the mechanism of action remains unclear. In this study, we report that FKB has profound effects on the metabolic state of human thyroid cancer (TCa) cells, leading to high autophagy flux through upregulation of AMP-activated protein kinase, which in turn inhibits mTOR and activates Beclin-1 in TCa cells. We further report that the autophagy induced by FKB plays a prosurvival role in TCa cells both in vitro and in vivo. In conclusion, our findings provide evidence that combination treatment with FKB and pharmacological autophagy inhibitors will be a potential therapeutic strategy for the treatment of TCa.
Keywords: apoptosis; autophagy; flavokawain B; metabolism; thyroid cancer.
© 2018 The Authors. Cancer Science published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Japanese Cancer Association.