Tanshinone IIA blocks epithelial-mesenchymal transition through HIF-1α downregulation, reversing hypoxia-induced chemotherapy resistance in breast cancer cell lines.
Oncol Rep. 2014 Jun ;31(6):2561-8. Epub 2014 Apr 16. PMID: 24737252
The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of tanshinone IIA (Tan IIA), an active constituent of Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge, on epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and hypoxia-induced chemoresistance in breast cancer cells. To induce hypoxia, MCF-7 and HCC1973 cells were treated with 100 µM deferoxamine followed by doxorubicin (DOX). Cell viability and proliferation were examined using the CCK-8 and EdU assays, respectively. Western blot and immunofluorescence analyses of the expression of two EMT markers, E-cadherin and vimentin, were also carried out. The role of HIF-1α and TWIST in mediating the effects of Tan IIA was determined through siRNA. Based on the results, hypoxia-induced DOX resistance was observed in both MCF-7 and HCC1973 cells (both P=0.001), which was reversed with Tan IIA. Specifically, in hypoxic conditions, Tan IIA significantly decreased cell viability and proliferation (all P≤0.001), but not apoptosis. Hypoxia also significantly reduced E-cadherin and increased vimentin protein levels (P≤0.005), which returned to control levels with Tan IIA. In addition, silencing both HIF-1α and TWIST expression abrogated the effects of Tan IIA on cell viability. Taken together, Tan IIA ameliorated hypoxia-induced DOX resistance and EMT in breast cancer cell lines, which may be attributed to the downregulation of HIF-1α expression. Further in vivo studies, however, are required to fully elucidate the therapeutic potential of Tan IIA in increasing the sensitivity of breast cancer cells to chemotherapy.