Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality and causes more than a million deaths per year. Gefitinib is the first-line agent of advanced lung cancer, however, resistance to gefitinib becomes a major problem in clinical application. Transketolase (TKT) is a key enzyme functioning between the oxidative arm and the non-oxidative arm of the pentose phosphate pathway. In this study, we firstly found that the expression of TKT was remarkably up-regulated in NSCLC cells, while the knockdown of TKT could inhibit cell proliferation and enhance the effect of gefitinib on NSCLC cells, which indicated the role of TKT in treating advanced lung cancer. Cryptotanshinone (CTS) is a natural active compound possessing anti-cancer effect. Here we demonstrated that CTS could strengthen the effect of gefitinib on NSCLC cells via inhibition of TKT in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, Nrf2 was involved in the repression of CTS on TKT expression. Collectively, these findings indicated the role of TKT in lung cancer progression and may provide novel therapeutic strategies to overcome resistance to gefitinib. Furthermore, CTS may serve as a new candidate in adjuvant treatment of advanced lung cancer.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier B.V.