Bexarotene-induced cell death in ovarian cancer cells through Caspase-4-gasdermin E mediated pyroptosis

Tatsuya Kobayashi, Akira Mitsuhashi, Piao Hongying, Masashi Shioya, Katsushi Kojima, Kyoko Nishikimi, Kinnosuke Yahiro, Makio Shozu

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Bexarotene selectively activates retinoid X receptor, which is a commonly used anticancer agent for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. In this study, we aimed to investigate the anticancer effect of bexarotene and its underlying mechanism in ovarian cancer in vitro. The ES2 and NIH:OVACAR3 ovarian cancer cell lines were treated with 0, 5, 10, or 20 µM of bexarotene. After 24 h, cell number measurement and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) cytotoxicity assay were performed. The effect of bexarotene on CDKN1A expression, cell cycle-related protein, cell cycle, pyroptosis, and apoptosis was evaluated. Bexarotene reduced cell proliferation in all concentrations in both the cells. At concentrations of > 10 µM, extracellular LDH activity increased with cell rupture. Treatment using 10 µM of bexarotene increased CDKN1A mRNA levels, decreased cell cycle-related protein expression, and increased the sub-G1 cell population in both cells. In ES2 cells, caspase-4 and GSDME were activated, whereas caspase-3 was not, indicating that bexarotene-induced cell death might be pyroptosis. A clinical setting concentration of bexarotene induced cell death through caspase-4–mediated pyroptosis in ovarian cancer cell lines. Thus, bexarotene may serve as a novel therapeutic agent for ovarian cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11123
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12-2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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