Scientific reports 2017 03 027() 43373 doi 10.1038/srep43373
Human cervical cancer is the fourth most common carcinoma in women worldwide. However, the emergence of drug resistance calls for continuously developing new anticancer drugs and combination chemotherapy regimens. The present study aimed to investigate the anti-cervical cancer effects of metformin, a first-line therapeutic drug for type 2 diabetes mellitus, and nelfinavir, an HIV protease inhibitor, when used alone or in combination. We found that both metformin and nelfinavir, when used alone, were moderately effective in inhibiting proliferation, inducing apoptosis and suppressing migration and invasion of human cervical cell lines HeLa, SiHa and CaSki. When used in combination, these two drugs acted synergistically to inhibit the growth of human cervical cancer cells in vitro and cervical cancer cell xenograft in vivo in nude mice, and suppress cervical cancer cell migration and invasion. The protein expression of phosphoinositide 3-kinase catalytic subunit PI3K(p110α), which can promote tumor growth, was remarkably downregulated, while the tumor suppressor proteins p53 and p21 were substantially upregulated following the combinational treatment in vitro and in vivo. These results suggest that clinical use of metformin and nelfinavir in combination is expected to have synergistic antitumor efficacy and significant potential for the treatment of human cervical cancer.