ABSTRACT: Zoledronic acid (ZA), a bisphosphonate originally indicated for use in osteoporosis, has been reported to exert a direct effect on breast cancer cells, although the mechanism of this effect is currently unknown. Data from the ABCSG-12 and ZO-FAST clinical trials suggest that treatment with the combination of ZA and aromatase inhibitors (AI) result in increased disease free survival in breast cancer patients over AI alone. To determine whether the mechanism of this combination involved inhibition of aromatase, AC-1 cells (MCF-7 human breast cancer cells transfected with an aromatase construct) were treated simultaneously with combinations of ZA and AI letrozole. This combination significantly increased inhibition of aromatase activity of AC-1 cells when compared to letrozole alone. Treatment of 1nM letrozole in combination with 1μM or 10μM ZA resulted in an additive drug interaction on inhibition of cell viability, as measured by MTT assay. Treatment with ZA was found to inhibit phosphorylation of aromatase on serine residues. Zoledronic acid was also shown to be more effective in inhibiting cell viability in aromatase transfected AC-1 cells when compared to inhibition of cell viability observed in non-transfected MCF-7. Estradiol was able to partially rescue the effect of 1μM and 10μM ZA on cell viability following treatment for 72h, as shown by a shift to the right in the estradiol dose-response curve. In conclusion, these results indicate that the combination of ZA and letrozole results in an additive inhibition of cell viability. Furthermore, ZA alone can inhibit aromatase activity through inhibition of serine phosphorylation events important for aromatase enzymatic activity and contributes to inhibition of cell viability.
The Journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology 05/2012; 132(3-5):195-202. · 2.66 Impact Factor