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Cancer Biol Ther. 2011 Oct 15;12(8):707-17. doi: 10.4161/cbt.12.8.16441. Epub 2011 Oct 15.

Mitochondria-targeted nitroxides exacerbate fluvastatin-mediated cytostatic and cytotoxic effects in breast cancer cells.

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  • 1Department of Biophysics, Free Radical Research Center, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, USA.


Mito-CP11, a mitochondria-targeted nitroxide formed by conjugating a triphenylphosphonium cation to a five-membered nitroxide, carboxy-proxyl (CP), has been used as a superoxide dismutase (SOD) mimetic. In this study, we investigated the antiproliferative and cytotoxic properties of submicromolar levels of Mito-CP11 alone and in combination with fluvastatin, a well known cholesterol lowering drug, in breast cancer cells. Mito-CP11, but not CP or CP plus the cationic ligand, methyl triphenylphosphonium (Me-TPP+), inhibited MCF-7 breast cancer cell proliferation. Mito-CP11 had only minimal effect on MCF-10A, non-tumorigenic mammary epithelial cells. Mito-CP11, however, significantly enhanced fluvastatin-mediated cytotoxicity in MCF-7 cells. Mito-CP11 alone and in combination with fluvastatin inhibited nuclear factor kappa-B activity mainly in MCF-7 cells. We conclude that mitochondria-targeted nitroxide antioxidant molecules (such as Mito-CP11) that are non-toxic to non-tumorigenic cells could enhance the cytostatic and cytotoxic effects of statins in breast cancer cells. This strategy of combining mitochondria-targeted non-toxic molecules with cytotoxic chemotherapeutic drugs may be successfully used to enhance the efficacy of antitumor therapies in breast cancer treatment.

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