Axitinib, small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor, demonstrates anti-cancer activity for various solid tumors. We investigated anti-cancer effect of axitinib in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). We treated EOC cells (A2780, HeyA8, RMG1, and HeyA8-MDR) with axitinib to evaluate its effects on cell viabilty, apoptosis and migration. Western blots were performed to assess VEGFR2, ERK, and AKT levels, and ELISA and FACS to evaluate apoptosis according to axitinib treatment. In addition, in vivo experiments in xenografts using A2780, RMG1, and HeyA8-MDR cell lines were performed. We repeated the experiment with patient-derived xenograft models (PDX) of EOC. Axitinib significantly inhibited cell survival and migration, and increased apoptosis in EOC cells. The expression of VEGFR2 and phosphorylation of AKT and ERK in A2780, RMG1, and HeyA8 were decreased with axitinib treatment in dose-dependent manner, but not in HeyA8-MDR. In in vivo experiments, axitinib significantly decreased tumor weight in xenograft models of drug-sensitive (A2780), and clear cell carcinoma (RMG1) and PDX models for platinum sensitive EOC compared to control, but was not effective in drug-resistant cell line (HeyA8-MDR) or heavily pretreated refractory PDX model. Axitinib showed significant anti-cancer effects in drug-sensitive or clear cell EOC cells via inhibition of VEGFR signals associated with cell proliferation, apoptosis and migration, but not in drug-resistant cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas