Anti-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Effects of Sorafenib and Arsenic Trioxide in Acute Myeloid Leukemia Cell Lines

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Molecular and Cellular Science, Faculty of Advanced Science and Technology, Pharmaceutical Science Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran-Iran.

2 Young Researchers and Elite Club, Pharmaceutical Sciences Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.

3 Hematology oncology and stem cell transplantation research center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran Iran.


Acute myeloid leukemia (AML), is a clonal disorder caused by acquired somatic mutations and chromosomal rearrangements. According to some evidence, progression of hematolymphoid malignancies depends on the induction of new blood vessel formation under the influence of acute leukemia. Various factors are produced by cancer cells under hypoxic conditions to increase vascular formation. Among these, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) plays a crucial role. Cytotoxicity and anticancer effects of arsenic trioxide (ATO) have been reported in many cancers. Sorafenib, known as an angiogenic inhibitor, decreases leukemic cell survival. The aim of this study was to indicate combination effects of ATO and sorafenib in two AML cell lines, KG-1 and U937. Effective doses was determined by MTT assay for both single and combination treatments. Percentages of apoptotic cells were evaluated by Annexin V FITC staining and mRNA levels of VEGF isoforms and receptor expression were investigated by Real-Time PCR. Our data show that sorafenib (5μM and 7μM in KG-1 and U937 cell lines respectively), ATO (1.618μM and 1μM in KG-1 and U937 cell lines respectively), and also their combination significantly increased the percentage of apoptotic cells. In addition the mRNA level of VEGF isoforms was downregulated in the U937 cell line while upregulated in KG-1 cells. Taken together, our results suggest that the VEGF autocrine loop may have an influence on AML development and progression and could be consider as a therapeutic target. The combination of sorafenib as a VEGF inhibitor with ATO synergistically inhibits cell proliferation and promotes apoptosis.


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