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Keywords:

  • antisense;
  • Bcl-2;
  • tamoxifen;
  • trastuzumab;
  • breast carcinoma

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Because the overexpression of HER-2 and Bcl-2 is associated with resistance to tamoxifen (TAM), the authors examined the effect of antisense (AS) Bcl-2 on sensitivity to TAM compared with the effect of trastuzumab on sensitivity to TAM in breast carcinoma cell lines.

METHODS

Drug sensitivity was assessed in vitro using a [3-4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay with the breast carcinoma cell lines ZR-75-1, MDA-MB-453, and BT-474. AS Bcl-2 18-mer phosphorothioate oligonucleotide was applied. Apoptotic cell death was assessed with the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated biotinylated UTP nick-end labeling method, and gene expression was evaluated with Western blot analysis.

RESULTS

The expression of Bcl-2 was identified in ZR-75-1 and BT-474 cells and, to a lesser extent, in MDA-MB-453 cells. Overexpression of HER-2 was identified in BT-474 cells, and moderate expression was identified in MDA-MB-453 and ZR-75-1 cells. Combination treatment with trastuzumab or AS Bcl-2 enhanced TAM sensitivity in ZR-75-1 cells, which showed 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) values of 0.9 μM (7.2-fold increase) and 0.5 μM (13.0-fold), respectively. Combination treatment with trastuzumab or AS Bcl-2 slightly enhanced TAM sensitivity of BT-474 cells, with IC50 values of 3.0 μM (1.3-fold) and 1.5 μM (2.6-fold), respectively. The sensitivity of MDA-MB-453 cells to TAM was not enhanced by combination with trastuzumab or AS Bcl-2. Modulation of TAM sensitivity by AS Bcl-2 was superior to modulation by trastuzumab in HER-2-expressing and Bcl-2-expressing breast carcinoma cells. Enhanced sensitivity in combination with AS Bcl-2 was associated with down-regulation of Bcl-2 and pAkt, which was correlated with the induction of Bax and caspase-3, leading to apoptosis.

CONCLUSIONS

AS Bcl-2 appeared to be superior to trastuzumab with respect to regulating the signal-transduction pathways involved in breast carcinoma cells. Cancer 2005. © 2005 American Cancer Society.