SLC-0111, an inhibitor of carbonic anhydrase IX, attenuates hepatoblastoma cell viability and migration

Katja Eloranta, Marjut Pihlajoki, Emmi Liljeström, Ruth Nousiainen, Tea Soini, Jouko Lohi, Stefano Cairo, David B. Wilson, Seppo Parkkila, Markku Heikinheimo

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10 Scopus citations


Background: In response to hypoxia, tumor cells undergo transcriptional reprogramming including upregulation of carbonic anhydrase (CA) IX, a metalloenzyme that maintains acid-base balance. CAIX overexpression has been shown to correlate with poor prognosis in various cancers, but the role of this CA isoform in hepatoblastoma (HB) has not been examined. Methods: We surveyed the expression of CAIX in HB specimens and assessed the impact of SLC-0111, a CAIX inhibitor, on cultured HB cells in normoxic and hypoxic conditions. Results: CAIX immunoreactivity was detected in 15 out of 21 archival pathology HB specimens. The CAIX-positive cells clustered in the middle of viable tumor tissue or next to necrotic areas. Tissue expression of CAIX mRNA was associated with metastasis and poor clinical outcome of HB. Hypoxia induced a striking upregulation of CAIX mRNA and protein in three HB cell models: the immortalized human HB cell line HUH6 and patient xenograft-derived lines HB-295 and HB-303. Administration of SLC-0111 abrogated the hypoxia-induced upregulation of CAIX and decreased HB cell viability, both in monolayer and spheroid cultures. In addition, SLC-0111 reduced HB cell motility in a wound healing assay. Transcriptomic changes triggered by SLC-0111 administration differed under normoxic vs. hypoxic conditions, although SLC-0111 elicited upregulation of several tumor suppressor genes under both conditions. Conclusion: Hypoxia induces CAIX expression in HB cells, and the CAIX inhibitor SLC-0111 has in vitro activity against these malignant cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1118268
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
StatePublished - Jan 26 2023


  • carbonic anhydrase IX
  • hepatoblastoma
  • pediatric oncology
  • targeted therapy
  • tumor hypoxia


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