Anti-cancer stem cell activity of the Src inhibitor dasatinib in thyroid cancer cells
Although the prognosis of differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) is good, those of poorly-differentiated and undifferentiated thyroid cancers (PDTC and UDTC) are poor. Recent preclinical studies have suggested that the Src inhibitor dasatinib is active in thyroid cancer cell lines. We conducted the present study in an attempt to clarify the antitumor activity of dasatinib in PDTC and UDTC. The expression levels of c-Src, phosphorylated Srcs (p-SrcY416 and p-SrcY527), focal adhesion kinase (FAK), and phosphorylated FAK (p-FAKY861) were immunohistochemically investigated in a case-control series (15 cases of PDTC or UDTC vs. 29 control cases of DTC). The PDTC cell line KTC-1 and UDTC cell line KTC-2 were used to investigate the anticell growth and anti-cancer stem cell (CSC) activities of dasatinib. The combined effects of dasatinib and the taxane paclitaxel on anti-cell growth and anti-CSC activities were also tested. c-Src and p-FAKY861 expression levels were significantly higher, while those of p-SrcY416 were slightly higher in PDTC and UDTC than in DTC. Dasatinib inhibited cell growth in association with G1-S cell cycle retardation and increased apoptosis in both cell lines. Dasatinib significantly decreased the proportion of CSCs and more than additively enhanced the anti-cell growth activity of paclitaxel. The results of this study suggest that the Src signaling pathway is activated more in PDTC and UDTC than in DTC. The Src inhibitor dasatinib exhibited anti-cell growth and anti-CSC activities. Furthermore, it more than additively enhanced the anti-cell growth activity of paclitaxel.