Radio resistance in breast cancer cells is mediated through TGF-β signalling, hybrid epithelial-mesenchymal phenotype and cancer stem cells.

Published on Mar 1, 2019in Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy6.53
· DOI :10.1016/J.BIOPHA.2018.12.055
Poonam Yadav1
Estimated H-index: 1
(HBNI: Homi Bhabha National Institute),
Bhavani S. Shankar12
Estimated H-index: 12
(HBNI: Homi Bhabha National Institute)
Abstract Aims A major obstacle for effective cancer treatment by radiation therapy is the development of radio-resistance and identification of underlying mechanisms and activated pathways will lead to better combination therapies. Main methods Irradiated MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell lines were characterised following different recovery periods. Proliferation was assessed by MTT, BrdU and clonogenic assays and apoptosis by Annexin V/ propidium iodide staining and flow cytometry. Gene expression was monitored by real time PCR/ELISA/antibody labelling and migration using transwell inserts. Key findings Breast cancer cell lines exposed to 6 Gy followed by recovery period for 7 days (D7-6 G) had increased ability for proliferation as well as apoptosis. D7-6 G from both cell lines had increased expression of transforming growth factor isoforms (TGF)-β1, β2 and β3, their receptors TGF-βR1 and TGF-βR2 which are known for such dual effects. The expression of downstream transcription factors Snail, Zeb-1 and HMGA2 also showed a differential pattern in D7-6 G cells with upregulation of at least two of these transcription factors. D7-6 G cells from both cell lines displayed hybrid epithelial-mesenchymal (E/M) phenotype with increased expression of E/M markers and migration. D7-6 G cells had increased expression of cancer stem cells markers Oct4, Sox2, and Nanog; aldehyde dehydrogenase expression and activity; proportion of CD44+CD24−cells. This was accompanied by radio resistance when exposed to a challenge dose of radiation. Treatment with TGF-βRI inhibitor abrogated the increase in proliferation of D7-6 G cells. Significance Blocking of TGF-β signalling may therefore be an effective strategy for overcoming radio resistance induced by radiation exposure.
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