[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Approximately 30-40% of estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha)-positive breast tumors express high levels of the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) protein, and these high levels have been associated with a poorer prognosis in breast cancer patients. We speculate that high levels of COX-2 induce drug resistance in ERalpha-positive breast tumors, thus reducing the survival rate of patients with such tumors. Human breast cancer cell lines that express high levels of COX-2 are generally ERalpha negative. To determine whether COX-2 induces drug resistance, plasmids encoding the COX-2 gene were stably transfected into ERalpha-positive MCF-7 human breast cancer cells (MCF-7/COX-2). MCF-7/COX-2 cells were resistant to the selective estrogen receptor modulator tamoxifen but not to its analog, raloxifene. MCF-7/COX-2 cells were also resistant to the retinoid N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)retinamide (4-HPR) but not to its analog, all-trans retinoic acid. In contrast, the sensitivities of MCF-7/COX-2 cells to doxorubicin and paclitaxel were similar to those of the parental MCF-7 cells. We then determined which COX-2 product, prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) or prostaglandin F2alpha is involved in the COX-2-mediated drug resistance. PGE2, but not PGF2alpha, blocked the antiproliferative effects of tamoxifen and 4-HPR. Agonists that activate PGE2 receptors and their downstream kinase effectors, protein kinases A and C, also blocked the growth inhibitory effects of these drugs. Increased levels of Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL proteins have been reported in mammary tumors of COX-2 transgenic mice and in human colon cancer cell lines that have high levels of COX-2. However, we did not observe any changes in Bcl-2, Bcl-XL, or Bax expression induced by COX-2 or PGE2. Here we report the novel findings that COX-2 uses PGE2 to stimulate the activities of protein kinases A and C to induce selectively tamoxifen and 4-HPR resistance in ERalpha-positive breast cancer cells.
Preview · Article · Dec 2005 · Laboratory Investigation
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The mechanism of action of ZR2002, a chimeric amino quinazoline designed to possess mixed EGFR tyrosine kinase (TK) inhibitory and DNA targeting properties, was compared to those of ZR01, a reversible inhibitor of the same class and PD168393, a known irreversible inhibitor of EGFR. ZR2002 exhibited 4-fold stronger EGFR TK inhibitory activity than its structural homologue ZR01 but was approximately 3-fold less active than the 6-acrylamidoquinazoline PD168393. It preferentially blocked EGF and TGFalpha-induced cell growth over PDGF and serum. It also inhibited signal transduction in heregulin-stimulated breast tumour cells, indicating that it does not only block EGFR but also its closely related erbB2 gene product. In contrast to its structural homologues, ZR2002 was capable of inducing significant levels of DNA strand breaks in MDA-MB-468 cells after a short 2 hr drug exposure at a concentration as low as 10 microM. Reversibility studies using whole cell autophosphorylation and growth assays in human breast cell lines showed that in contrast to its reversible inhibitor counterpart ZR01, ZR2002 induced irreversible inhibition of EGF-stimulated autophosphorylation in MDA-MB-468 cells and irreversible inhibition of cell growth. Moreover despite possessing a weaker binding affinity than PD168393, it induced a significantly more sustained antiproliferative effect than the latter after a pulse 2 hr exposure. More importantly, in contrast to ZR01 and PD168393, ZR2002 was capable of inducing significant levels of cell death by apoptosis in MDA-MB-468 cells. The results in toto suggest that the superior antiproliferative potency of ZR2002 may be due to its ability to induce a protracted blockade of receptor tyrosine kinase-mediated signaling while damaging cellular DNA, a combination of events that may trigger cell-killing by apoptosis.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2004 · International Journal of Cancer
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We reported that HER2/neu reduces the sensitivity of breast cancer cells to N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)retinamide (4-HPR) by suppressing nitric oxide production. We show that HER2/neu uses Akt to induce cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression and that inhibition of Akt or COX-2 increases 4-HPR-induced apoptosis and nitric oxide production. Apoptosis induced by the 4-HPR and COX-2 inhibitor combination, although unaffected by an anti-HER2/neu antibody, was reversed by the COX-2 product prostaglandin E(2), indicating that COX-2 is a major mechanism by which HER2/neu suppresses 4-HPR apoptosis in breast cancer cells. Combining 4-HPR with COX-2 inhibitors may be a novel chemopreventive strategy against HER2/neu-overexpressing breast tumors.