Metastasis formation requires active energy production and is regulated at multiple levels by mitochondrial metabolism. The hyperactive metabolism of cancer cells supports their extreme adaptability and plasticity and facilitates resistance to common anticancer therapies. In spite the potential relevance of a metastasis metabolic control therapy, so far, limited experience is available in this direction. Here, we evaluated the effect of the recently described α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase (KGDH) inhibitor, (S)-2-[(2,6-dichlorobenzoyl) amino] succinic acid (AA6), in an orthotopic mouse model of breast cancer 4T1 and in other human breast cancer cell lines. In all conditions, AA6 altered Krebs cycle causing intracellular α-ketoglutarate (α-KG) accumulation. Consequently, the activity of the α-KG-dependent epigenetic enzymes, including the DNA demethylation ten-eleven translocation translocation hydroxylases (TETs), was increased. In mice, AA6 injection reduced metastasis formation and increased 5hmC levels in primary tumours. Moreover, in vitro and in vivo treatment with AA6 determined an α-KG accumulation paralleled by an enhanced production of nitric oxide (NO). This epigenetically remodelled metabolic environment efficiently counteracted the initiating steps of tumour invasion inhibiting the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Mechanistically, AA6 treatment could be linked to upregulation of the NO-sensitive anti-metastatic miRNA 200 family and down-modulation of EMT-associated transcription factor Zeb1 and its CtBP1 cofactor. This scenario led to a decrease of the matrix metalloproteinase 3 (MMP3) and to an impairment of 4T1 aggressiveness. Overall, our data suggest that AA6 determines an α-KG-dependent epigenetic regulation of the TET-miR200-Zeb1/CtBP1-MMP3 axis providing an anti-metastatic effect in a mouse model of breast cancer-associated metastasis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology
- Cancer Research