Jason M Duran, Catherine A Makarewich, Danielle M Trappanese, Polina Gross, Sharmeen Husain, Jonathan Dunn, Hind Lal, Thomas E Sharp, Timothy Starosta, Ronald J Vagnozzi, Remus M Berretta, Mary Barbe, Daohai Yu, Erhe Gao, Hajime Kubo, Thomas Force and Steven R Houser
Rationale: Sorafenib is an effective treatment for renal cell carcinoma, but recent clinical reports have documented its cardiotoxicity through an unknown mechanism.
Objective: Determining the mechanism of sorafenib-mediated cardiotoxicity.
Methods and Results: Mice treated with sorafenib or vehicle for 3 weeks underwent induced myocardial infarction (MI) after 1 week of treatment. Sorafenib markedly decreased 2-week survival relative to vehicle-treated controls but echocardiography at 1 and 2 weeks post-MI detected no differences in cardiac function. Sorafenib-treated hearts had significantly smaller diastolic and systolic volumes and reduced heart weights. High doses of sorafenib induced necrotic death of isolated myocytes in vitro, but lower doses did not induce myocyte death or affect inotropy. Histological analysis documented increased myocyte cross-sectional area despite smaller heart sizes following sorafenib treatment, further suggesting myocyte loss. Sorafenib caused apoptotic cell death of cardiac- and bone-derived c-kit+ stem cells in vitro and decreased the number of BrdU+ myocytes detected at the infarct border zone in fixed tissues. Sorafenib had no effect on infarct size, fibrosis or post-MI neovascularization. When sorafenib-treated animals received metoprolol treatment post-MI, the sorafenib-induced increase in post MI mortality was eliminated, cardiac function was improved, and myocyte loss was ameliorated.
Conclusions: Sorafenib cardiotoxicity results from myocyte necrosis rather than from any direct effect on myocyte function. Surviving myocytes undergo pathological hypertrophy. Inhibition of c-kit+ stem cell proliferation by inducing apoptosis exacerbates damage by decreasing endogenous cardiac repair. In the setting of MI, which also causes large-scale cell loss, sorafenib cardiotoxicity dramatically increases mortality.