Effects of all-trans-retinoic acid and 13-cis-retinoic acid on breast-cancer cell lines: Growth inhibition and apoptosis induction

Salvatore Toma, Laura Isnardi, Patrizia Raffo, Giuseppe Dastoli, Elena De Francisci, Lucia Riccardi, Ralfaella Palumbo, Werner Bollag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Interest has been increasingly focused on all-trans-retinoic acid (tRA) and 13-cis-retinoic acid (13cRA) in cancer chemoprevention and treatment. We have examined the in vitro effects of these 2 retinoic acids (RAs) on human breast-cancer cell lines MCF-7 and ZR-75.1 (both estrogen-receptor-positive, ER+) and MDA-MB-231 (estrogen-receptor-negative, ERa-), in terms of inhibition of proliferation and induction of apoptosis. Both retinoic acids exerted an evident dose-dependent growth inhibition, although in the ER- cell line the anti-proliferative effect was obtained only with the highest concentration used; the anti-proliferative activity of tRA was more evident than 13cRA on all 3 tested cell lines. tRA and 13cRA induced apoptosis in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cell lines, but not in ZR-75.l. The apoptotic phenomenon was clearly time-dependent, and in our experience it was not related to the arrest in a specific phase of cell cycle. After treatment with RAs the levels of bcl-2 were reduced in MCF-7, while in ZR-75.1 and in MDA-MB-231 no treatment-related modifications were observed. An analysis of estrogen receptor status, used as a marker of differentiation, demonstrated that after treatment with RAs the levels of estrogen receptor (ER) decreased in ZR-75.1 only. Our study indicates that the anti-proliferative effects of RAs are sustained by induction of apoptosis in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells, while in ZR-75.1 cells an induction of differentiation without apoptosis was the prevalent mechanism of growth inhibition. Our results encourage further studies on in vivo effects of these retinoids in breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)619-627
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Volume70
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

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