Local anesthetics are known to induce apoptosis in clinically relevant concentrations. However, it is unknown whether the effects are also present in thyroid cancer cells and the mechanisms are not well uncharacterized. We sought to explore the effects of lidocaine and bupivacaine on thyroid cancer cells in terms of cell growth, colony formation, cell cycle, induction of apoptosis, and mitochondrial injury. At 24 hour, lidocaine had an IC50 value of 6.8 mM to 7.3 mM, whereas bupivacaine had an IC50 value of 1.3 mM to 3.1 mM. In search for a molecular mechanism, based on microarray and pathway analysis, we determined that apoptotic activity is mediated by the c-jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38 MAPK). Our data suggest that induction of apoptosis by local anesthetics has the potential to improve the regional control of thyroid cancer.

Citation Format: Shih-Ping Cheng, Yuan-Ching Chang, Yi-Chiung Hsu, Shih-Yuan Huang, Meng-Chun Hu, Chin-Wen Chi, Sung-Liang Yu. c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38 MAPK) are involved in local anesthetics-induced apoptosis in human thyroid cancer cells. [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 104th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2013 Apr 6-10; Washington, DC. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2013;73(8 Suppl):Abstract nr 2948. doi:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2013-2948