Introduction: The esophagus squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is one of the most deadly malignances, and a current challenge is the development of effective therapeutic agents. Our present work addressed the effect of HIF-1α siRNA alone or in combination with cisplatin on the growth of ESCC in nude mice. Materials and
Methods: Xenografts were established by inoculating ESCC TE-1 cells in nude mice, and transplanted tumors were treated with HIF-1α siRNA, cisplatin alone or together. Growth was assessed by measuring tumor volume. HIF-1α mRNA and protein expression were detected using RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry, respectively. Apoptosis of ESCC TE-1 cells was analyzed by flow cytometry.
Results: In our nude mice model, HIF-1α siRNA effectively inhibited the growth of transplanted ESCC, downregulating HIF-1α mRNA and protein expression, and inducing ESCC TE-1 cell apoptosis. Notably when combinated with cisplatin, HIF-1α siRNA showed synergistic interaction in suppressing tumor growth. Furthermore, the proportion of apoptotic cells in HIF-1α siRNA plus cisplatin group was significantly higher than that in cisplatin or HIF-1α siRNA-treated groups (P<0.05).
Conclusions: Down-regulated HIF-1α expression induced by siRNA could effectively suppress the growth of transplanted ESCC in vivo. HIF-1α siRNA could enhance the cytotoxicity of cisplatin, which suggests that a combination of these two agents may have potential for therapy of advanced ESCC.