Baicalein suppresses vasculogenic mimicry through inhibiting RhoA/ROCK expression in lung cancer A549 cell line

Lung Cancer

Acta Biochim Biophys Sin (Shanghai). 2020 Jul 16:gmaa075. doi: 10.1093/abbs/gmaa075. Online ahead of print.


Vasculogenic mimicry (VM) refers to a new tubular network of the blood supply system with abundant extracellular matrix. VM is similar to capillaries but does not involve endothelial cells. As a traditional herbal medicine commonly used in China, baicalein possesses anti-inflammatory and lipoxygenase activities. However, the effects of baicalein on the process of VM formation in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and the underlying mechanisms have remained poorly understood. In this study,

baicalein was found to inhibit the viability and motility of A549 cells and induced the breakage of the cytoskeletal actin filament network. In addition, baicalein significantly decreased the formation of VM and downregulated the expressions of VM-associated factors, such as VE-cadherin, EphA2, MMP14, MMP2, MMP9, PI3K and LAMC2, similar to the effects of ROCK inhibitors. Indeed, baicalein inhibited RhoA/ROCK expression in vitro and in vivo, suggesting the underlying mechanisms of reduced VM formation. Collectively, baicalein suppressed the formation of VM in NSCLC by targeting the RhoA/ROCK signaling pathway, indicating that baicalein might serve as an emerging drug for NSCLC.