Open Access

Elevated estrogen receptor β expression in triple negative breast cancer cells is associated with sensitivity to doxorubicin by inhibiting the PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway

  • Authors:
    • Shanshan Lei
    • Peizhi Fan
    • Mengchuan Wang
    • Chaojie Zhang
    • Yu Jiang
    • Shulin Huang
    • Meng Fang
    • Zili He
    • Aiguo Wu
  • View Affiliations

  • Published online on: May 28, 2020     https://doi.org/10.3892/etm.2020.8809
  • Pages: 1630-1636
  • Copyright: © Lei et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License.

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Abstract

Based on its pathological characteristics, breast cancer is a highly heterogeneous disease. Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive subtype, and due to a lack of effective therapeutic targets, patients with TNBC do not significantly benefit from endocrine or anti‑HER2 therapy. Conventional chemotherapy has been regarded as the only systemic therapy option for TNBC, but its therapeutic efficacy remains limited. Estrogen receptor β (ERβ) has been identified as a tumor suppressor in TNBC. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to identify the role of ERβ in regulating the response to chemotherapy, and to investigate its underlying mechanism in TNBC. MDA‑MB‑231 and BT549 cells were treated with doxorubicin (DOX), liquiritigenin [Liq, (Chengdu Biopurify Phytochemicals, Ltd.); a specific ERβ agonist], or a combination of DOX and Liq in vitro. The effects of various treatments on cell viability and proliferation were measured using the Cell Counting Kit‑8 and colony‑formation assays, respectively. MDA‑MB‑231 and ERβ knockdown (ERβ‑KD) MDA‑MB‑231 cells were selected for the establishment of ERα‑/ERβ+ and ERα‑/ERβ‑ cell models, respectively. The two cell models were treated with DOX, Liq or a combination of DOX and Liq. The effects of the treatment on the PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway were evaluated by assessing the protein expression levels of AKT and mTOR using western blot analysis. Low Liq concentrations increased the sensitivity of MDA‑MB‑231 and BT549 cells to DOX. Moreover, the synergistic effect of Liq and DOX treatment was associated with the inhibition of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway in MDA‑MB‑231 cells, and the effect was ERβ‑dependent. The results suggested that elevated ERβ expression was associated with sensitivity to doxorubicin by inhibiting the PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway; therefore, the combined use of conventional chemotherapeutic drugs with ERβ agonists may serve as an effective therapy for TNBC.

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August-2020
Volume 20 Issue 2

Print ISSN: 1792-0981
Online ISSN:1792-1015

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APA
Lei, S., Fan, P., Wang, M., Zhang, C., Jiang, Y., Huang, S. ... Wu, A. (2020). Elevated estrogen receptor β expression in triple negative breast cancer cells is associated with sensitivity to doxorubicin by inhibiting the PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway. Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, 20, 1630-1636. https://doi.org/10.3892/etm.2020.8809
MLA
Lei, S., Fan, P., Wang, M., Zhang, C., Jiang, Y., Huang, S., Fang, M., He, Z., Wu, A."Elevated estrogen receptor β expression in triple negative breast cancer cells is associated with sensitivity to doxorubicin by inhibiting the PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway". Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine 20.2 (2020): 1630-1636.
Chicago
Lei, S., Fan, P., Wang, M., Zhang, C., Jiang, Y., Huang, S., Fang, M., He, Z., Wu, A."Elevated estrogen receptor β expression in triple negative breast cancer cells is associated with sensitivity to doxorubicin by inhibiting the PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway". Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine 20, no. 2 (2020): 1630-1636. https://doi.org/10.3892/etm.2020.8809