An oestrogen receptor β-selective agonist exerts anti-neoplastic effects in experimental intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma



      Cholangiocarcinoma cells over-express oestrogen receptor-β, which displays anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effects.


      To evaluate the effects of a newly developed and highly selective oestrogen receptor-β agonist (KB9520) on experimental intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma.


      In vitro, the effects of KB9520 on apoptosis and proliferation of HuH-28 cells, HuH-28 cells with selective oestrogen receptor-β silencing (by small interfering RNA), HepG2 cells (oestrogen receptor-α and oestrogen receptor-β negative) and HepER3 cells (HepG2 cells transformed to stably express oestrogen receptor-α) were evaluated. In vivo, the effects of KB9520 on experimental intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, induced by thioacetamide administration were tested.


      In vitro, KB9520 induced apoptosis and inhibited proliferation of HuH-28 cells. KB9520 effects were absent in cells lacking oestrogen receptor-α and β (HepG2) and in cells expressing only oestrogen receptor-α (HepER3); its pro-apoptotic effect was impaired in cells where oestrogen receptor-β expression was decreased by specific small interfering RNA. In vivo, KB9520 inhibited experimental intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma development in thioacetamide-treated rats and promoted tumour regression in rats where tumour was already established. In treated animals, tumour areas showed reduced proliferation but increased apoptosis.


      KB9520 induced apoptosis in cholangiocarcinoma by selectively acting on oestrogen receptor-β, suggesting that oestrogen receptor-β selective agonists may be a novel and effective therapeutic option for the medical treatment of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma.


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