Sorafenib is a multiple kinase inhibitor which targets Raf kinases, VEGFR, and PDGFR and is approved for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Previously, we found that p-STAT3 is a major target of SC-43, a sorafenib derivative. In this study, we report that SC-43-induced apoptosis in cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) via a novel mechanism. Three CCA cell lines (HuCCT-1, KKU-100 and CGCCA) were treated with SC-43 to determine their sensitivity to SC-43-induced cell death and apoptosis. We found that SC-43 activated SH2 domain-containing phosphatase 1 (SHP-1) activity, leading to p-STAT3 and downstream cyclin B1 and Cdc2 downregulation, which induced G2-M arrest and apoptotic cell death. Importantly, SC-43 augmented SHP-1 activity by direct binding to N-SH2 and relief of its autoinhibition. Deletion of the N-SH2 domain (dN1) or point mutation (D61A) of SHP-1 counteracted the effect of SC-43-induced SHP-1 phosphatase activation and antiproliferation ability in CCA cells. In vivo assay revealed that SC-43 exhibited xenograft tumor growth inhibition, p-STAT3 reduction and SHP-1 activity elevation. In conclusion, SC-43 induced apoptosis in CCA cells through the SHP-1/STAT3 signaling pathway.
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