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Biosci Rep. 2011 Apr;31(2):99-108. doi: 10.1042/BSR20090143.

(-)-Epigallocatechin-3-gallate down-regulates EGFR, MMP-2, MMP-9 and EMMPRIN and inhibits the invasion of MCF-7 tamoxifen-resistant cells.

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Department of Experimental Pathology, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.


The activation of the EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) signalling pathway is one of the key mechanisms underlying the development of resistance to tamoxifen in breast cancer patients. As EGCG [(-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate], the most active catechin present in green tea, has been shown to down-regulate EGFR, we studied the effects of 10-100 μg/ml EGCG treatment on growth and invasion in a breast carcinoma cell line resistant to tamoxifen [MCF-7Tam (MCF-7 breast carcinoma cell line resistant to tamoxifen) cells] and parental MCF-7. A dose-dependent down-regulation of EGFR mRNA expression and protein level occurred after 50 μg/ml EGCG treatment of MCF-7Tam cells. EGFR molecules on the plasma membrane surface of MCF-7Tam cells significantly decreased. EGFR phosphorylation (Tyr-992, Tyr-1045 and Tyr-1068) was higher in MCF-7Tam than in MCF-7 and it was reduced by EGCG treatment. ERK (extracellular regulated kinase) and phospho-ERK p42/44 were also down-regulated by EGCG treatment and in vitro cell growth and invasion decreased. MMP-2 (matrix metalloproteinase-2) and MMP-9, which are implicated in cell invasion and metastasis, and EMMPRIN (extracellular matrix metalloproteinase inducer), a glycoprotein able to activate MMPs, were significantly reduced after 50 μg/ml EGCG treatment. In keeping with this, TIMP-1 (tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-1) and TIMP-2, which down-regulate MMPs, increased after EGCG treatment. Altogether, the present data demonstrated that EGCG could attenuate the tamoxifen-resistant phenotype of MCF-7Tam cells. EGCG could stop MCF-7Tam cell growth and in vitro invasion through down-regulation of EGFR and other molecules implicated in aggressive biological behaviour. The present data support the hypothesis that EGCG is an interesting molecule to be investigated in tamoxifen-resistant breast carcinoma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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