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Biomed Res Int. 2019 Jan 6;2019:6543230. doi: 10.1155/2019/6543230. eCollection 2019.

Brucine Suppresses Vasculogenic Mimicry in Human Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Cell Line MDA-MB-231.

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Department of Chinese Integrative Medicine Oncology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical University, Hefei, Anhui 230022, China.
The CAS Key Laboratory of Innate Immunity and Chronic Disease, Innovation Center for Cell Signaling Network, School of Life Sciences and Medical Center, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui 230027, China.
Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at Microscale, Hefei, Anhui 230027, China.
Center for Biomedical Engineering, Department of Electronic Science and Technology, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui 230027, China.


Vasculogenic mimicry (VM) with the pattern of endothelial independent tubular structure formation lined by aggressive tumor cells mimics regular tumor blood vessels to ensure robust blood supply and correlates with the proliferation, invasion, metastasis, and poor prognosis of malignant tumors, which was demonstrated to be a major obstacle for resistance to antiangiogenesis therapy. Therefore, it is urgent to discover methods to abrogate the VM formation of tumors, which possesses important practical significance for improving tumor therapy. Brucine is a traditional medicinal herb extracted from seeds of Strychnos nux-vomica L. (Loganiaceae) exhibiting antitumor activity in a variety of cancer models. In the present study, the effect of brucine on vasculogenic mimicry and the related mechanism are to be investigated. We demonstrated that, in a triple-negative breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231, brucine induced a dose-dependent inhibitory effect on cell proliferation along with apoptosis induction at higher concentrations. The further study showed that brucine inhibited cell migration and invasion with a dose-dependent manner. Our results for the first time indicated that brucine could disrupt F-actin cytoskeleton and microtubule structure, thereby impairing hallmarks of aggressive tumors, like migration, invasion, and holding a possibility of suppressing vasculogenic mimicry. Hence, the inhibitory effect of brucine on vasculogenic mimicry was further verified. The results illustrated that brucine significantly suppressed vasculogenic mimicry tube formation with a dose-dependent effect indicated by the change of the number of tubules, intersections, and mean length of tubules. The in-depth molecular mechanism of vasculogenic mimicry suppression induced by brucine was finally suggested. It was demonstrated that brucine inhibited vasculogenic mimicry which might be through the downregulation of erythropoietin-producing hepatocellular carcinoma-A2 and matrix metalloproteinase-2 and metalloproteinase-9.

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