Effects on cellular proliferation and apoptosis of combined treatment with sorafenib and miR-193a/miR-23b in HCC cell lines. (A) The MTT assay showed that the growth of the HA22T/VGH cells was significantly reduced after the combined treatments of sorafenib plus miR-193a. *p < 0.05; **p < 0.01, ***p < 0.001, ****p < 0.0001 in a one-way ANOVA followed by Bonferroni correction: for sorafenib alone versus 0.1% DMSO, for miR alone versus Lipofectamine, for the co-treatments versus Lipofectamine plus 0.1% DMSO. (B-E) The HA22T/VGH cells were transfected with negative control miRNA or miR-193a and treated with either vehicle (0.1% DMSO) or different concentrations of sorafenib (5-10-15 μM). Two-way ANOVA followed by Bonferroni correction was used to establish whether significant difference existed between negative control miRNA transfected cells and miR-193a transfected cells; ***p < 0.001. (F) TUNEL assay in SKHep1C3 cells. The cells transfected with 100 nM miR-23b or miR-193a and then treated with 5 μM sorafenib showed increased percentages of apoptotic cells (up to 1.95 times those of cells treated with sorafenib alone). *p < 0.05; **p < 0.01 in a two-way ANOVA followed by Bonferroni correction.