Combination of phenethyl isothiocyanate and dasatinib inhibits hepatocellular carcinoma metastatic potential through FAK/STAT3/Cadherin signalling and reduction of VEGF secretion

Gabriele Strusi, Caterina M. Suelzu, Shannon Weldon, Jennifer Giffin, Andrea E. Münsterberg, Yongping Bao (Lead Author)

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Cancerous cells are characterised by their ability to invade, metastasise, and induce angiogenesis. Tumour cells use various molecules that can be targeted to reverse these processes. Dasatinib, a potent Src inhibitor, has shown promising results in treating hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in vitro and in vivo. However, its effectiveness is limited by focal adhesion kinase (FAK) activation. Isothiocyanates, on the other hand, are phytochemicals with broad anticancer activity and FAK inhibition capabilities. This study evaluated the synergistic effect of dasatinib and phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) on HCC. The combination was tested using various assays, including MTT, adhesion, scratch, Boyden chamber, chorioallantoic membrane (CAM), and yolk sac membrane (YSM) assays to evaluate the effect of the drug combination on HCC metastatic potential and angiogenesis in vitro and in vivo. The results showed that the combination inhibited the adhesion, migration, and invasion of HepG2 cells and reduced xenograft volume in the CAM assay. Additionally, the combination reduced angiogenesis in vitro, diminishing the growth of vessels in the tube formation assay. The inhibition of FAK/STAT3 signalling led to increased E-cadherin expression and reduced VEGF secretion, reducing HCC metastatic potential. Therefore, a combination of PEITC and dasatinib could be a potential therapeutic strategy for the treatment of HCC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2390
Issue number10
Early online date27 Sep 2023
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023


  • combination therapy
  • dasatinib
  • Oncology
  • cancer therapeutics
  • drug development
  • CAM assay
  • VEGF
  • FAK
  • HCC
  • oncology

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