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Epigenetic reprogramming of epithelial mesenchymal transition in triple negative breast cancer cells with DNA methyltransferase and histone deacetylase inhibitors
J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2018 Dec 14;37(1) :314
PMID: 30547810    PMCID: PMC6295063   
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BACKGROUND: Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive neoplasia with no effective therapy. Our laboratory has developed a unique TNBC cell model presenting epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) a process known to be important for tumor progression and metastasis. There is increasing evidence showing that epigenetic mechanisms are involved in the activation of EMT. The objective of this study is to epigenetically reverse the process of EMT in TNBC by using DNA methyltransferase inhibitors (DNMTi) and histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi). METHODS: We evaluated the antitumor effect of three DNMTi and six HDACi using our TNBC cell model by MTT assay, migration and invasion assay, three dimensional culture, and colony formation assay. We then performed the combined treatment both in vitro and in vivo using the most potent DNMTi and HDACi, and tested the combined treatment in a panel of breast cancer cell lines. We investigated changes of EMT markers and potential signaling pathways associated with the antitumor effects. RESULTS: We showed that DNMTi and HDACi can reprogram highly aggressive TNBC cells that have undergone EMT to a less aggressive phenotype. SGI-110 and MS275 are superior to other seven compounds being tested. The combination of SGI with MS275 exerts a greater effect than single agent alone in inhibiting cell proliferation, motility, colony formation, and stemness of cancer cells. We also demonstrated that MS275 and the combination of SGI with MS275 exert in vivo antitumor effect. We revealed that the combined treatment synergistically reverses EMT through inhibiting EpCAM cleavage and WNT signaling, suppressing mutant p53, ZEB1, and EZH2, and inducing E-cadherin, apoptosis, as well as histone H3 tri-methylation. CONCLUSIONS: Our study showed that DNMTi and HDACi exert antitumor activity in TNBC cells partially by epigenetically reprograming EMT. Our findings strongly suggest that TNBC is sensitive to epigenetic therapies. Therefore, we propose a new strategy to treat TNBC by using the combination of SGI-110 with MS275, which exerts superior antitumor effects by simultaneously targeting multiple pathways.
1756-9966 Su, Yanrong ORCID: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-7059-5930 Hopfinger, Nathan R Nguyen, Theresa D Pogash, Thomas J Santucci-Pereira, Julia Russo, Jose P30 CA006927/CA/NCI NIH HHS/United States 6914101/Pennsylvania Cancer Cure Grant CA06927/NIH Core Grant Journal Article England J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2018 Dec 14;37(1):314. doi: 10.1186/s13046-018-0988-8.