Chronic treatment with multi-kinase inhibitors causes differential toxicities on skeletal and cardiac muscles

Joshua R. Huot, Alyson L. Essex, Maya Gutierrez, Rafael Barreto, Meijing Wang, David L. Waning, Lilian I. Plotkin, Andrea Bonetto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Despite recent progress, chemotherapy remains the preferred treatment for cancer. We have shown a link between anticancer drugs and the development of cachexia, i.e., body wasting accompanied by muscle loss. The multi-kinase inhibitors (MKIs) regorafenib and sorafenib, used as second-line treatment for solid tumors, are frequently accompanied by several side effects, including loss of muscle mass and strength. In the present study we aimed to investigate the molecular mechanisms associated with the occurrence of muscle toxicities in in vivo conditions. Hence, we treated 8-week old healthy CD2F1 male mice with MKIs for up to six weeks and observed decreased skeletal and cardiac muscle mass, consistent with muscle weakness. Modulation of ERK1/2 and GSK3+, as well as increased expression of markers of autophagy, previously associated with muscle atrophy conditions, were shown in skeletal muscle upon treatment with either drug. MKIs also promoted cardiac abnormalities consistent with reduced left ventricular mass, internal diameter, posterior wall thickness and stroke volume, despite unchanged overall function. Notably, different signaling pathways were affected in the heart, including reduced expression of mitochondrial proteins, and elevated AKT, GSK3β, mTOR, MEK1/2 and ERK1/2 phosphorylation. Combined, our data demonstrate detrimental effects on skeletal and cardiac muscle in association with chronic administration of MKIs, although different mechanisms would seem to contribute to the cachectic phenotype in the two tissues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number571
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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