Beneficial and adverse effects of sorafenib drug on hepatocellular carcinoma-bearing rats: morphological and molecular evidences

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Vichununt Kerdput
Pongsak Khanpetch
Thanakorn Hassana
Kritsakorn Kanjanapongkul
Meng Chieh Yang
Wisuit Pradidarcheep


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a primary liver cancer commonly found in adults. Globally, HCC is the sixth most prevalent cancer and the fourth most common cause of cancer death. In terms of drug treatment options, sorafenib (Nexavar) is the only Food and Drug Administration approved drug to treat unresectable HCC patients. However, several side effects in said patients were noted after receiving treatment with sorafenib. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate the inhibitory effect of HCC in sorafenib-treated HCC-bearing rats. The results showed that sorafenib treatment induced high levels of liver enzymes (AST and ALT) in the HCC rat liver. In addition, even though sorafenib-treated rats did not show any side effects during the treatment, inflamed hepatocytes, ballooning degeneration, and microvesicular steatosis were observed in rat liver tissues. Moreover, as revealed by qPCR and immunohistochemical staining, sorafenib enhances higher expression of Bax mRNA and protein in HCC tissues. Thus, this study suggests that sorafenib can inhibit tumor growth through promotion of apoptosis but has the adverse effect of inducing liver injury. Further studies are needed to investigate whether or not HCC cells play a role in how sorafenib exhibits adverse effects on the liver.

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Kerdput, V.; Khanpetch, P.; Hassana, T.; Kanjanapongkul, K.; Yang, M. C.; Pradidarcheep, W. Beneficial and Adverse Effects of Sorafenib Drug on Hepatocellular Carcinoma-Bearing Rats: Morphological and Molecular Evidences. Microsc. Microanal. Res. 2022, 35, 10-15.
Original Articles


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