Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) is involved in the tumor growth and metastasis of human head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) and is therefore a target with therapeutic potential. In this study, we show that HJC0152, a recently developed anticancer agent and a STAT3 signaling inhibitor, exhibits promising antitumor effects against HNSCC both in vitro and in vivo via inactivating STAT3 and downstream microRNA-21/β-catenin axis. HJC0152 treatment efficiently suppressed HNSCC cell proliferation, arrested the cell cycle at the G0/G1 phase, induced apoptosis, and reduced cell invasion in both SCC25 and CAL27 cell lines. Moreover, HJC0152 inhibited nuclear translocation of phosphorylated STAT3 at Tyr705 and decreased VHL/β-catenin signaling activity via regulation of microRNA-21. Loss-of-function of VHL remarkably compromised the antitumor effect of HJC0152 in both cell lines. In our SCC25-derived orthotopic mouse models, HJC0152 treatment significantly abrogated STAT3/β-catenin expression in vivo, which leading to a global decrease of tumor growth and invasion. With its favorable aqueous solubility and oral bioavailability, HJC0152 holds the potential to be translated into the clinic as a promising therapeutic strategy for patients with HNSCC.
- Received September 9, 2016.
- Revision received December 15, 2016.
- Accepted December 16, 2016.
- Copyright ©2017, American Association for Cancer Research.