Sirolimus Attenuates Calcineurin Inhibitor-Induced Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition in Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Berik Rovgaliyev, Ming Yuan Tan, Kwang Woong Lee, Seung Cheol Oh, Min Young Park, Sooin Seo, Hyo Sun Choi, Suk Kyun Hong, Jae Hyung Cho, Jeong Moo Lee, Nam Joon Yi, Kyung Suk Suh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Calcineurin inhibitors (CNIs), which are potent immunosuppressants (ISs), increase the risk for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) recurrence after liver transplantation (LTx). Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a key process in which epithelial cancer cells lose their polarity, resulting in cancer progression and metastasis. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of sirolimus (SRL) individually and in combination with other ISs to reduce EMT. Methods: HCC SK-Hep1 cells were used and various ISs (SRL, tacrolimus, cyclosporine A, or mycophenolate mofetil) were administered at 2 dosages and in combination therapies. Mice were transplanted with SK-Hep1 cells (in the liver) and were monitored after 2 weeks. Results: The in vitro treatment with SRL showed a dose-dependent attenuation of cell proliferation and migration in case of the individual and IS combination treatments; further, decreased levels of pro-EMT proteins, namely, N-cadherin, transforming growth factor-β, ZEB1, Slug, and Snail were observed. In contrast, E-cadherin expression was upregulated after both the individual and IS combination treatments. These results were also observed in the samples from mice transplanted with the SK-Hep1 cells. Conclusion: The present study demonstrated that SRL reduced HCC metastasis by inhibiting EMT. Thus, our findings provide a rationale for the use of SRL in combination with ISs in HCC LTx patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2025-2034
Number of pages10
JournalTransplantation Proceedings
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'Sirolimus Attenuates Calcineurin Inhibitor-Induced Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition in Hepatocellular Carcinoma'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this