Regorafenib inhibits epithelial-mesenchymal transition and suppresses cholangiocarcinoma metastasis via YAP1-AREG axis

Yu Chan Chang, Chien Hsiu Li, Ming Hsien Chan, Ming Huang Chen*, Chun Nan Yeh*, Michael Hsiao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) is a subtype of bile duct cancer usually diagnosed late with a low survival rate and no satisfactorily systemic treatment. Recently, regorafenib has been accepted as a second-line treatment for CCA patients. In this study, we investigated the potential signal transduction pathways mediated by regorafenib. We established a transcriptomic database for regorafenib-treated CCA cells using expression microarray chips. Our data indicate that regorafenib inhibits yes-associated protein 1 (YAP1) activity in various CCA cells. In addition, we demonstrated that YAP1 regulates epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-related genes, including E-cadherin and SNAI2. We further examined YAP1 activity, phosphorylation status, and expression levels of YAP1 downstream target genes in the regorafenib model. We found that regorafenib dramatically suppressed these events in CCA cells. Moreover, in vivo results revealed that regorafenib could significantly inhibit lung foci formation and tumorigenicity. Most importantly, regorafenib and amphiregulin (AREG) neutralize antibody exhibited synergistic effects against CCA cells. In a clinical setting, patients with high YAP1 and EMT expression had a worse survival rate than patients with low YAP1, and EMT expression did. In addition, we found that YAP1 upregulated the downstream target amphiregulin in CCA. Our findings suggest that AREG neutralizing antibody antibodies combined with regorafenib can reverse the CCA metastatic phenotype and EMT in vitro and in vivo. These findings provide novel therapeutic strategies to combat the metastasis of CCA.

Original languageEnglish
Article number391
JournalCell Death and Disease
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022


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