[Illinois] Cancer Community Symposium 2012: The Inhibitory Effects of the Antifibrotic Drug Halofuginone on Uterine Leiomyoma Smooth Muscle Cells

By Faezeh Koohestani

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Uterine leiomyomas are the most prevalent benign tumors of the reproductive tract in women. Available treatments for leiomyomas are limited to surgical procedures or hormonal therapy, which are costly and have significant side effects. In an effort to develop alternative therapeutic strategies, we tested the drug halofuginone (HF) in primary leiomyoma smooth muscle cells (LSMCs) in vitro and in vivo. Our results show that treatment of LSMCs with 50nM HF in vitro caused a significant decrease in cell proliferation and expression of collagens, which are hallmarks of these tumors. These effects were also found to be mediated through the MAPK and SRC pathways. We next tested the inhibitory effects of HF in an in vivo leiomyoma-xenografted mouse model. Treatment of mice with 0.25 mg/kg/day HF for four weeks significantly reduced the size of tumors by 50% with no effect on body weight or overall health of the animals. HF also caused a decrease in cell proliferation and increased in apoptosis. Our findings demonstrate that the antifibrotic drug HF inhibits the growth of leiomyomas through its effects on major cell signaling pathways, and may lead to the development of HF as an efficient therapeutic strategy for treatment of these common tumors.

Cancer Community At Illinois Symposium 2012

April 5-6, 2012: Connecting patient care, research, and scientific advancement

Symposium Premise
This on-campus research symposium aims to bring together members of campus and the surrounding community to foster interdisciplinary discussions on cancer research and its affects on patient care. In order to increase understanding and awareness, we will discuss in an open forum with research talks, poster presentations, and panel discussions. We invite community members, clinicians, and researchers from UIUC and other Midwest regional institutions from departments ranging from the social sciences to basic sciences to engineering and medicine.
The symposium features invited talks from nationally-recognized cancer researchers, oral presentations from UIUC faculty and students, and poster sessions. We encourage student researchers from UIUC and from other regional schools to apply (travel awards are available).

About CC@I Symposium
The Cancer Community at Illinois (CC@I) Symposium is organized by a group of students on the University of Illinois campus to bridge the areas of social science, basic sciences to engineering and medicine as they relate to cancer. The symposium mission is to: 1) Facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration and understanding that transcends established departmental affiliation; 2) Foster an increased understanding of the social and environmental factors affecting patients; and 3) Develop unique vantage points afforded by interactive dialogue between and among the various cancer research disciplines. In order to accomplish this, the symposium will engage the local patient community through use of the nascent social and support efforts of the Mills Breast Cancer Institute, Carle Hospital, and regional clinical collaborators.
If you are interested in other CC@I events or the program in general, please contact cancer-community@illinois.edu


Research Assistant, Animal Science Laboratory,UIUC


Authors: Faezeh Koohestani*, Wenan Qiang, Takeshi Kurita, Maureen Getty, Jacob Schanks, Amy MacNeill, and Romana Nowak

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Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Faezeh Koohestani (2012), "[Illinois] Cancer Community Symposium 2012: The Inhibitory Effects of the Antifibrotic Drug Halofuginone on Uterine Leiomyoma Smooth Muscle Cells," http://nanohub.org/resources/13943.

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Beckman Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL


Obaid Sarvana, NanoBio Node

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign