Gold nanoparticle-conjugated quercetin inhibits epithelial-mesenchymal transition, angiogenesis and invasiveness via EGFR/VEGFR-2-mediated pathway in breast cancer.
Cell Prolif. 2016 Dec ;49(6):678-697. Epub 2016 Aug 18. PMID: 27641938
OBJECTIVES: Epidermal growth factor plays a critical role in breast malignancies by enhancing cell proliferation, invasion, angiogenesis and metastasis. Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a crucial process by which epithelial cells lose polarity and acquire migratory mesenchymal properties. Gold nanoparticles are an efficient drug delivery vehicle for carrying chemotherapeutic agents to target cancer cells and quercetin is an anti-oxidative flavonoid known with potent anti-malignant cell activity.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Cell viability was assessed by MTT assay, and protein expression was examined by Western blotting and immunocytochemistry. Cell invasion was monitored using invasion chambers, and cell migration was analysed by scratch wound-healing assay. In vitro and ex vivo angiogenesis studies were performed by capillary-like tube formation assay and chick embryo angiogenesis assay (CEA). 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA) induced mammary carcinoma in Sprague-Dawley rats.
RESULTS: We observed a significant reduction in protein expression of vimentin, N-cadherin, Snail, Slug, Twist, MMP-2, MMP-9, p-EGFR, VEGFR-2, p-PI3K, Akt and p-GSK3β, and enhanced E-cadherin protein expression in response to AuNPs-Qu-5 treatment. AuNPs-Qu-5 inhibited migration and invasion of MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells compared to free quercetin. AuNPs-Qu-5-treated HUVECs had reduced cell viability and capillary-like tube formation. In vitro and in vivo angiogenesis assays showed that AuNPs-Qu-5 suppressed tube and new blood vessel formation. Treatment with AuNPs-Qu-5 impeded tumour growth in DMBA-induced mammary carcinoma in SD rats compared to treatment with free quercetin.
CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that AuNPs-Qu-5 inhibited EMT, angiogenesis and metastasis of the breast cancer cells tested by targeting the EGFR/VEGFR-2 signalling pathway.