Liver cancer is a common tumor and currently the second leading cause of cancer-related mortality globally. Liver cancer is highly related to inflammation as more than 90% of liver cancer arises in the context of hepatic inflammation, such as hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus infection. Despite significant improvements in the therapeutic modalities for liver cancer, patient prognosis is not satisfactory due to the limited efficacy of current drug therapies in anti-metastatic activity. Therefore, developing new effective anti-cancer agents with anti-metastatic activity is important for the treatment of liver cancer. In this study, SP-8356, a verbenone derivative with anti-inflammatory activity, was investigated for its effect on the growth and migration of liver cancer cells. Our findings demonstrated that SP-8356 inhibits the proliferation of liver cancer cells by inducing apoptosis and suppressing the mobility and invasion ability of liver cancer cells. Functional studies revealed that SP-8356 inhibits the mitogen-activated protein kinase and nuclear factor-kappa B signaling pathways, which are related to cell proliferation and metastasis, resulting in the downregulation of metastasis-related genes. Moreover, using an orthotopic liver cancer model, tumor growth was significantly decreased following treatment with SP-8356. Thus, this study suggests that SP-8356 may be a potential agent for the treatment of liver cancer with multimodal regulation.
Keywords: ERK; Liver cancer; Motility; NF-κB; Proliferation; SP-8356.