Huang, Hsu, Huang, Yen, Lin, Peng, Yen (2019) Improved Survival in Hepatocellular Carcinoma Patients with Cardiac Arrhythmia by Amiodarone Treatment through Autophagy International journal of molecular sciences 20(16)


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a primary malignancy of the liver. In basic studies, the regulation of autophagy has offered promising results for HCC treatment. This study aimed to address the question of whether amiodarone can improve survival rates in HCC patients associated with autophagy. Using datasets from the National Health Insurance Research Database, we enrolled patients over 18 years of age that had been diagnosed with HCC between January 1997 and December 2010. Amiodarone and non-amiodarone users were matched at a 1:1 frequency, according to all variables. Additionally, HepG2 cells treated with amiodarone were evaluated by cell viability and autophagic change. Autophagic signaling was examined by immunoblotting and tissue array immunohistochemistry. Of the 10,946 patients diagnosed with HCC, each cohort included 221 patients after 1:1 propensity score matching. The median survival was 36.70 months for the amiodarone users, and 24.48 months for the non-amiodarone users. After adjusting for age, gender, comorbidities and treatment, amiodarone users had a significantly lower risk of mortality. Amiodarone users also demonstrated an improved 3-year survival rate. Furthermore, amiodarone treatment-induced autophagy in HepG2 cells was demonstrated by autophagosome formation associated with increasing LC3B-II, P62, and Beclin-1 expression. Autophagic flux also increased following amiodarone treatment with bafilomycin A1. SiRNA of LC3B knocked down endogenous LC3B formation and restored HepG2 cell viability. This study provides epidemiologic evidence that amiodarone via autophagic degradation machinery may offer survival benefits for HCC patients with a history of arrhythmia. Further randomized, blinded, and placebo-controlled trials are warranted for patients with HCC.