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PLoS One. 2013 Dec 13;8(12):e84306. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0084306. eCollection 2013.

Human breast tumor cells are more resistant to cardiac glycoside toxicity than non-tumorigenic breast cells.

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1
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America.

Abstract

Cardiotonic steroids (CTS), specific inhibitors of Na,K-ATPase activity, have been widely used for treating cardiac insufficiency. Recent studies suggest that low levels of endogenous CTS do not inhibit Na,K-ATPase activity but play a role in regulating blood pressure, inducing cellular kinase activity, and promoting cell viability. Higher CTS concentrations inhibit Na,K-ATPase activity and can induce reactive oxygen species, growth arrest, and cell death. CTS are being considered as potential novel therapies in cancer treatment, as they have been shown to limit tumor cell growth. However, there is a lack of information on the relative toxicity of tumor cells and comparable non-tumor cells. We have investigated the effects of CTS compounds, ouabain, digitoxin, and bufalin, on cell growth and survival in cell lines exhibiting the full spectrum of non-cancerous to malignant phenotypes. We show that CTS inhibit membrane Na,K-ATPase activity equally well in all cell lines tested regardless of metastatic potential. In contrast, the cellular responses to the drugs are different in non-tumor and tumor cells. Ouabain causes greater inhibition of proliferation and more extensive apoptosis in non-tumor breast cells compared to malignant or oncogene-transfected cells. In tumor cells, the effects of ouabain are accompanied by activation of anti-apoptotic ERK1/2. However, ERK1/2 or Src inhibition does not sensitize tumor cells to CTS cytotoxicity, suggesting that other mechanisms provide protection to the tumor cells. Reduced CTS-sensitivity in breast tumor cells compared to non-tumor cells indicates that CTS are not good candidates as cancer therapies.

PMID:
24349570
PMCID:
PMC3862803
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0084306
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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