Metformin produces growth inhibitory effects in combination with nutlin-3a on malignant mesothelioma through a cross-talk between mTOR and p53 pathways


Mesothelioma is resistant to conventional treatments and is often defective in p53 pathways. We then examined anti-tumor effects of metformin, an agent for type 2 diabetes, and combinatory effects of metformin and nutlin-3a, an inhibitor for ubiquitin-mediated p53 degradation, on human mesothelioma. We examined the effects with a colorimetric assay and cell cycle analyses, and investigated molecular events in cells treated with metformin and/or nutlin-3a with Western blot analyses. An involvement of p53 was tested with siRNA for p53. Metformin suppressed cell growth of 9 kinds of mesothelioma including immortalized cells of mesothelium origin irrespective of the p53 functional status, whereas susceptibility to nutlin-3a was partly dependent on the p53 genotype. We investigated combinatory effects of metformin and nutlin-3a on, nutlin-3a sensitive MSTO-211H and NCI-H28 cells and insensitive EHMES-10 cells, all of which had the wild-type p53 gene. Knockdown of p53 expression with the siRNA demonstrated that susceptibility of MSTO-211H and NCI-H28 cells to nutlin-3a was p53-dependent, whereas that of EHMES-10 cells was not. Nevertheless, all the cells treated with both agents produced additive or synergistic growth inhibitory effects. Cell cycle analyses also showed that the combination increased sub-G1 fractions greater than metformin or nutlin-3a alone in MSTO-211H and EHMES-10 cells. Western blot analyses showed that metformin inhibited downstream pathways of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) but did not activate the p53 pathways, whereas nutlin-3a phosphorylated p53 and suppressed mTOR pathways. Cleaved caspase-3 and conversion of LC3A/B were also detected but it was dependent on cells and treatments. The combination of both agents in MSTO-211H cells rather suppressed the p53 pathways that were activated by nutrin-3a treatments, whereas the combination rather augmented the p53 actions in NCI-H28 and EHMES-10 cells. These data collectively indicated a possible interactions between mTOR and p53 pathways, and the combinatory effects were attributable to differential mechanisms induced by a cross-talk between the pathways.

DOI: 10.1186/s12885-017-3300-y

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@inproceedings{Shimazu2017MetforminPG, title={Metformin produces growth inhibitory effects in combination with nutlin-3a on malignant mesothelioma through a cross-talk between mTOR and p53 pathways}, author={Kengo Shimazu and Yuji Tada and Takao Morinaga and Masato Shingyoji and Ikuo Sekine and Hideaki Shimada and Kenzo Hiroshima and Takao Namiki and Koichiro Tatsumi and Masatoshi Tagawa}, booktitle={BMC Cancer}, year={2017} }