RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated vascular endothelial growth factor-C (VEGF-C) reduction interferes with lymphangiogenesis and enhances epirubicin sensitivity of breast cancer cells

Ping Sun, Jie Gao, Yan-Li Liu, Lu-Wan Wei, Li-Ping Wu, Zhi-Yu Liu
Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry 2008, 308 (1-2): 161-8
It has been reported that over-expression of vascular endothelial growth factor-C (VEGF-C) in tumors leads to increased lymphangiogenesis and resistance to chemotherapy. Therefore, we hypothesized that VEGF-C would be a good molecular target for cancer gene therapy. In this study, we silenced the expression of VEGF-C with the highly specific post-transcriptional suppression of RNA interference (RNAi) in human breast cancer MCF-7 cell line. The expression of VEGF-C was examined by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and the effect of plasmid on human lymphatic endothelial cells (HLECs) in vitro was analyzed by migration and 3-(4, 5-dimethylt-hiazol-2-yl)-2, 5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. The sensitivity to anticancer agents was evaluated by MTT and apoptosis assay, and apoptosis-related genes bcl-2/bax ratio was determined by Western Blotting. Results showed that of three siRNA-expressing vectors, P-1/siRNA most significantly suppressed the expression of VEGF-C mRNA and protein (38.1% of control and 117.8 +/- 24.2 pg/ml, respectively) and interfered with proliferation and migration of HLECs in vitro. Moreover, transfection of VEGF-C/siRNA combined with Epirubicin markedly decreased breast cancer cells viability, reaching up to 38.5%, and increased apoptosis rate from 13.1% to 38.9%, as determined by decrease of bcl-2/bax ratio. In summary, VEGF-C would be a good molecular target, and a combination of Epirubicin and RNAi targeting VEGF-C could be an effective means for suppressing lymphatic metastasis and enhancing chemosensitivity of human breast cancer cells.

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