Cancer cachexia is a severe wasting syndrome characterized by the progressive loss of lean body mass and systemic inflammation. It occurs in approximately 80% of patients with advanced malignancy and is the cause of 20% to 30% of all cancer-related deaths. The mechanism by which striated muscle loss occurs is the tumor release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-1, IL-6, and TNF-α. These cytokines interact with their cognate receptors on muscle cells to enhance NF-κB signaling, which then mediates muscle loss and significant cardiac dysfunction. Genetic inhibition of NF-κB signaling has demonstrated its predominant role in skeletal muscle loss. Therefore, we tested two novel drugs designed to specifically inhibit NF-κB by targeting the IκB kinase (IKK) complex: Compound A and NEMO binding domain (NBD) peptide. Using an established mouse model of cancer cachexia (C26 adenocarcinoma), we determined how these drugs affected the development of tumor-induced cardiac atrophy and function. Echocardiographic and histological analysis revealed that both Compound A and NBD inhibit cardiac NF-κB activity and prevent the development of tumor-induced systolic dysfunction and atrophy. This protection was independent of any effects of the tumor itself (Compound A) or tumor-secreted cytokines (NBD). This study identifies for the first time, to our knowledge, that drugs targeting the IKK complex are cardioprotective against cancer cachexia-induced cardiac atrophy and systolic dysfunction, suggesting therapies that may help reduce cardiac-associated morbidities found in patients with advanced malignancies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine