Glucose impairs tamoxifen responsiveness modulating connective tissue growth factor in breast cancer cells

Maria Rosaria Ambrosio, Vittoria D'Esposito, Valerio Costa, Domenico Liguoro, Francesca Collina, Monica Cantile, Nella Prevete, Carmela Passaro, Giusy Mosca, Michelino De Laurentiis, Maurizio Di Bonito, Gerardo Botti, Renato Franco, Francesco Beguinot, Alfredo Ciccodicola, Pietro Formisano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Type 2 diabetes and obesity are negative prognostic factors in patients with breast cancer (BC). We found that sensitivity to tamoxifen was reduced by 2-fold by 25 mM glucose (High Glucose; HG) compared to 5.5 mM glucose (Low Glucose; LG) in MCF7 BC cells. Shifting from HG to LG ameliorated MCF7 cell responsiveness to tamoxifen. RNA-Sequencing of MCF7 BC cells revealed that cell cycle-related genes were mainly affected by glucose. Connective Tissue Growth Factor (CTGF) was identified as a glucose-induced modulator of cell sensitivity to tamoxifen. Coculturing MCF7 cells with human adipocytes exposed to HG, enhanced CTGF mRNA levels and reduced tamoxifen responsiveness of BC cells. Inhibition of adipocytereleased IL8 reverted these effects. Interestingly, CTGF immuno-detection in bioptic specimens from women with estrogen receptor positive (ER+) BC correlated with hormone therapy resistance, distant metastases, reduced overall and disease-free survival. Thus, glucose affects tamoxifen responsiveness directly modulating CTGF in BC cells, and indirectly promoting IL8 release by adipocytes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109000-109017
Number of pages18
Issue number65
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Adipose tissue
  • Breast cancer
  • Connective tissue growth factor
  • Glucose
  • Tamoxifen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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