Knockdown of the long noncoding RNA PURPL induces apoptosis and sensitizes liver cancer cells to doxorubicin

Tsinat Berhane, Anja Holm, Kasper Thystrup Karstensen, Andreas Petri, Mirolyuba Simeonova Ilieva, Henrik Krarup, Mogens Vyberg, Marianne Bengtson Løvendorf, Sakari Kauppinen*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common type of primary liver cancer with increasing incidence in western countries. Most HCC patients have advanced cancer at the time of diagnosis due to the asymptomatic nature of early-stage HCC and do not qualify for potentially curative surgical treatment, thus, highlighting the need for new therapeutic strategies. Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) comprise a large and heterogeneous group of non-protein coding transcripts that play important regulatory roles in numerous biological processes in cancer. In this study, we performed RNA sequencing of liver biopsies from ten HCC, ten hepatitis C virus-associated HCC, and four normal livers to identify dysregulated lncRNAs in HCC. We show that the lncRNA p53-upregulated-regulator-of-p53-levels (PURPL) is upregulated in HCC biopsies and that its expression is p53-dependent in liver cancer cell lines. In addition, antisense oligonucleotide-mediated knockdown of PURPL inhibited cell proliferation, induced apoptosis, and sensitized HepG2 human HCC cells to treatment with the chemotherapeutic agent doxorubicin. In summary, our findings suggest that PURPL could serve as a new therapeutic target for reversing doxorubicin resistance in HCC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number19502
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2022. The Author(s).


  • Humans
  • RNA, Long Noncoding/metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular/drug therapy
  • Liver Neoplasms/drug therapy
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53/genetics
  • Apoptosis/genetics
  • Cell Proliferation/genetics
  • Doxorubicin/pharmacology
  • Cell Line
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Cell Line, Tumor


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