ω-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid γ-linolenic acid (18:3n-6) enhances docetaxel (Taxotere) cytotoxicity in human breast carcinoma cells: Relationship to lipid peroxidation and HER-2/neu expression

Javier Abel Menendez, Santiago Ropero, Ruth Lupu, Ramon Colomer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

44 Scopus citations

Abstract

The ω-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid γ-linolenic acid (GLA; 18:3n-6) has raised recent interest as novel anticancer agent as it possesses effective tumoricidal properties while not inducing damage to normal cells or creating harmful systemic side effects. The taxane docetaxel (Taxotere) is currently one of the most active microtubule-interfering agents for breast cancer. Despite this encouraging therapeutical potential, the clinical use of taxanes involves problems related to the solubility, toxicity and development of drug resistance, which may be partially dependent on the expression of HER-2/neu oncogene. Current trends in the treatment of human tumors are for drug combinations that result in improved responses as well as the ability to use less toxic concentrations of the drugs. Here, we examined the cytotoxic effects of GLA in combination with docetaxel against estrogen-dependent (MCF-7) and estrogen-independent (MDA-MB-231 and SK-Br3) human breast carcinoma cell lines. The cells were exposed simultaneously to GLA and docetaxel or sequentially to GLA followed by docetaxel for 24 h. Cytotoxicity was evaluated by the MTT assay, and the nature of the interactions between GLA and docetaxel (antagonism, additivity, and synergism) was analyzed by median effect and isobologram analyses. Interaction assessment showed that concurrent exposure to GLA plus docetaxel for 24 h resulted in synergism for MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells, whereas an additive effect was observed in SK-Br3 cells. When exposure to GLA (24 and 48 h) was followed sequentially by docetaxel (24 h) a synergistic effect was observed in MDA-MB-231 and SK-Br3 cells, whereas an additive effect was found in MCF-7 cells. GLA-mediated increase in docetaxel cytotoxicity was only marginally abolished by Vitamin E, a lipid peroxidation inhibitor. Moreover, simultaneous exposure to GLA and docetaxel in the presence of the anti-oxidant Vitamin E also resulted in synergism, suggesting a limited influence of the oxidative status of GLA in achieving potentiation of docetaxel-induced cytotoxicity. Further experiments showed that GLA markedly decreased the expression of p185HER-2/neu oncoprotein in MCF-7 breast cancer cells (≤85%), and RT-PCR analysis revealed that HER-2/neu mRNA was selectively decreased in a concentration-dependent manner following GLA treatment. Therefore, our results show that the fatty acid GLA enhances the cytotoxicity of docetaxel in human breast cancer cells by mechanisms other than lipoperoxidation, and that GLA-induced transcriptional repression of HER-2/neu oncogene might be one component of the mechanisms of this interaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1241-1252
Number of pages12
JournalOncology reports
Volume11
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2004

Keywords

  • Breast cancer
  • Chemotherapy
  • Docetaxel
  • HER-2/neu
  • Peroxidation
  • γ-linolenic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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