Genes & nutrition 2018 04 0213() 8 doi 10.1186/s12263-018-0596-4
The presence of chemotherapy-resistant colorectal cancer stem cells (CCSCs) with KRAS mutation is thought to be one of the primary causes for treatment failure in colorectal cancer (CRC). P53, survivin, and microRNA-16-1 are challenging targets for anticancer drugs which are associated with chemoresistance in CRC. Yet, no p53-, survivin-, and microRNA-16-1-modulating drug with low toxicity but high efficacy against KRAS-mutant CCSCs have been approved for clinical application in CRC. Here, we investigated whether in vitro concentrations of DHA equal to human plasma levels, are able to modulate, Wt-p53, survivin, and microRNA-16-1 in CRC cells with stem cell-like properties.
Wt-p53/KRAS-mutant CRC cells (HCT-116) with stem cell-like properties were treated with 100-, 150- and 200-μM/L DHA, after which cell number, viability, growth inhibition, Wt-p53, survivin and microRNA-16-1 expression, caspase-3 activation and apoptotic-rate were evaluated by different cellular and molecular techniques.
After 24-, 48-, and 72-h treatments with 100- to 200-μM/L DHA, growth inhibition- rates were measured to be 54.7% to 59.7%, 73.% to 75.8%, and 63.3% to 97.7%, respectively. Treatment for 48 h with indicated DHA concentrations decreased cell number and viability. In addition, we observed a decrease in both the transcript and protein levels of survivin followed by 1.3- to 1.7- and 1.1- to 4.7-fold increases in the Wt-p53 accumulation and caspase-3 activation levels respectively. Treatment with 100 and 150 μM/L DHA increased microRNA-16-1 expression levels by 1.3- to 1.7-fold and enhanced the microRNA-16-1/survivin mRNA, p53/survivin, and caspase-3/survivin protein ratios by 1.7- to 1.8-, 1.3- to 2.6-, and 1.3- to 2-fold increases respectively. A decrease in the number of live cells and an increase in the number of apoptotic cells were also observed with increasing DHA concentrations.
Wt-p53, survivin, and microRNA-16-1 appear to be promising molecular targets of DHA. Thus, DHA might represent an attractive anti-tumor agent directed against KRAS-mutant CCSCs.