Curcumol enhances the anti-tumor effects of metformin via suppressing epithelial-mesenchymal transition in triple-negative breast cancer.
Ann Transl Med. 2020 Aug ;8(15):946. PMID: 32953746
Background: Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a severe disease with a high mortality rate. Metformin has been found to possess anti-tumor properties. Curcumol, an active ingredient extracted from curcuma, exerts the protective effect in TNBC cells through inducing apoptosis. However, the effects of curcumol combined with metformin on the treatment of TNBC have yet to be fully established.
Methods: TNBC cells MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-468 cells were used in the study. TNBC cells were treated with curcumol and metformin alone or treated with curcumol combined with metformin. Cell viability was determined using Cell Counting Kit-8 (CCK-8) assay. Cell apoptosis was detected using terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) assay. The levels of proteins were measured using Western blot. Wound healing assay and Transwell invasion assays were used to determine cell migration and invasion ability, respectively. A xenograft model was established to investigate the tumor growth ability. Immunohistochemistry was performed to determine the expression of Ki-67 and Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).
Results: In the study, the administration of curcumol alone had no significant effects on the TNBC cells. However, the anti-proliferation, anti-metastasis, and anti-epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) effects of metformin were enhanced by the addition of curcumol. Further, curcumol reversed TNBC cell proliferation, migration, invasion, and EMT induced by rucaparib, and enhanced the effect of metformin on rucaparib-induced TNBC cells. The combination of curcumol and metformin also suppressed tumor growth, EMT marker expression, and the activation of Wnt2/β-Catenin signaling duringexperiments.
Conclusions: The combination of curcumol and metformin enhances the anti-tumor effects of metformin on TNBC via inhibiting EMT. Curcumol combined with metformin may hold promise as a therapeutic strategy for TNBC.