Purpose: Lenvatinib is a long-awaited alternative to Sorafenib for first-line targeted therapy of patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, resistance to Lenvatinib results in tumor progression and has become a major obstacle to improving the prognosis of HCC patients. Exploring the mechanisms underlying Lenvatinib resistance is considered essential for the treatment of advanced HCC.
Methods: Lenvatinib resistant HCC (LR-HCC) cells were generated and potential long non-coding RNAs (Lnc-RNAs) upregulated in LR-HCC cells were identified by RNA sequencing. The effects of upregulated Lnc-RNAs were evaluated in vitro in cell models and in vivo in experimental animals using quantitative cell viability and apoptosis assays.
Results: We found that Lnc-RNA MT1JP (MT1JP) was upregulated in LR-HCC cells and inhibited the apoptosis signaling pathway. In addition, we found that sponging of microRNA-24-3p by MT1JP released Bcl-2 like 2 (BCL2L2), an anti-apoptotic protein, thereby forming a positive-feedback loop. The role of this feedback loop was validated using rescue assays. Additionally, we found that upregulation of MT1JP and BCL2L2 impaired the sensitivity of HCC cells to Lenvatinib both vitro and vivo.
Conclusions: Our results suggest a novel molecular feedback loop between MT1JP and apoptosis signaling in Lenvatinib sensitive HCC cells.
Keywords: Apoptosis; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Lenvatinib; Resistance; Sorafenib.
© 2021. The Author(s).