Dexamethasone simulates the anticancer effect of nano-formulated paclitaxel in breast cancer cells

Thoria Diab, Samar Sami AlKafaas, Thanaa Ibrahim Shalaby, Mohamed Hessien
Bioorganic Chemistry 2020 March 23, 99: 103792
Although the chemosensitizing effect of Dexamethasone (DEX) and its ability to increase the sensitivity of breast cancer cells to chemotherapy were previously reported, this study aimed to explore how far cotreatment of breast cancer cells with paclitaxel (PTX) and DEX mimics the anticancer effect of nanoformulated PTX. To establish this goal, PTX was nanoformulated with poly (lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) and the nanoparticles (PTX-NPs) were physically authenticated. Breast cancer cells (MCF-7) were treated with PTX or PTX-NPs in presence or absence of low concentration (10 nM) of DEX. Cells viability (assessed by MTT assay), apoptosis (assessed by flow cytometry) and the expression of PTX resistance gene (TRX1) and PTX metabolizing genes (CYP2C8 and CYP3A4) were investigated. The results showed that nanoformulated PTX was validated by nano-size assessment, increased the anionic surface charge and prober conjugation with the biodegradable carrier (PLGA), as indicated by the FTIR spectroscopy. Initially, the IC50 value of PTX was 19.3 μg/ml and cotreatment with DEX minimized it to 5.22 μg/ml, whereas PTX-NPs alone inhibited cell proliferation with IC50 6.67 μg/ml. Also, in presence of DEX, PTX-NPs further decreased the IC50 to 5 μg/ml. In parallel, DEX has increased the responsiveness of cells to PTX without potentiating its apoptotic effect. Moreover, the glucocorticoid (with PTX or PTX-NPs) downregulated TXR1 gene by 26% (P < 0.01) and 28.4% (P < 0.05) respectively. Similarly, the mRNA level of CYP3A4 significantly decreased in presence of DEX. The main PTX metabolizing gene CYP2C8, in contrast, was upregulated, especially in cells cotreated with PTX/DEX (P < 0.001). Conclusively, the study reports that cotreatment of breast cancer cells with submolar concentration of DEX acts as similar as the nanoformulated PTX, possibly through its modulatory effects on the expression of the main PTX metabolizing gene (CYP2C8) and downregulating Taxol resistance gene.

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