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Br J Cancer. 2006 Jun 5;94(11):1637-42.

Growth inhibition and differentiation of human breast cancer cells by the PAFR antagonist WEB-2086.

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  • 1Department of Experimental Pathology and Oncology, School of Medicine, University of Florence, Viale G. B. Morgagni 50, 50134 Florence, Italy.


WEB-2086 -- an antagonist of platelet-activating factor receptor (PAFR) with known anti-inflammatory, antiangiogenic and antileukaemic properties -- also proved to inhibit the proliferation in human solid tumour cell lines of different histology, and with much higher efficacy than in normal fibroblasts. A detailed analysis of WEB-2086 anticancer activity was then performed focusing on breast adenocarcinoma MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells. WEB-2086-treated cells, either expressing (MCF-7) or unexpressing (MDA-MB-231) the oestrogen receptor (ER)alpha, underwent a dose-dependent growth arrest (IC(50)=0.65+/-0.09 and 0.41+/-0.07 mM, respectively) and accumulation in G(0)-G(1) phase. WEB-2086 also induced morphological and functional changes typical of mature mammary phenotype including (i) cell enlargement and massive neutral lipid deposition (best accomplished in MCF-7 cells); (ii) decrease in motility and active cathepsin D levels (mainly observed in highly invasive MDA-MB-231 cells). The expression of ERalpha was neither increased nor reactivated in treated MCF-7 or MDA-MB-231 cells, respectively. WEB-2086-induced differentiation in breast cancer cells involved the upregulation of PTEN, a key tumour suppressor protein opposing tumorigenesis, and was apparently independent of p53, PAFR, peripheral benzodiazepine receptor and ERalpha status. Overall, WEB-2086 can be proposed as an effective antiproliferative and differentiative agent with interesting translational opportunities to treat breast cancers in support to conventional chemotherapy.

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