Tivozanib-induced activation of the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway and suppression of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in oral squamous cell carcinoma

Korean J Physiol Pharmacol. 2024 May 1;28(3):197-207. doi: 10.4196/kjpp.2024.28.3.197.


The potential of tivozanib as a treatment for oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) was explored in this study. We investigated the effects of tivozanib on OSCC using the Ca9-22 and CAL27 cell lines. OSCC is a highly prevalent cancer type with a significant risk of lymphatic metastasis and recurrence, which necessitates the development of innovative treatment approaches. Tivozanib, a vascular endothelial growth factor receptor inhibitor, has shown efficacy in inhibiting neovascularization in various cancer types but has not been thoroughly studied in OSCC. Our comprehensive assessment revealed that tivozanib effectively inhibited OSCC cells. This was accompanied by the suppression of Bcl-2, a reduction in matrix metalloproteinase levels, and the induction of intrinsic pathway-mediated apoptosis. Furthermore, tivozanib contributed to epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) inhibition by increasing E-cadherin levels while decreasing N-cadherin levels. These findings highlight the substantial anticancer potential of tivozanib in OSCC and thus its promise as a therapeutic option. Beyond reducing cell viability and inducing apoptosis, the capacity of tivozanib to inhibit EMT and modulate key proteins presents the possibility of a paradigm shift in OSCC treatment.

Keywords: Apoptosis; EMT suppression; Squamous cell carcinoma of head and neck; Tivozanib.