Background: Se-methylselenocysteine (MSC) is a naturally occurring organoselenium compound that inhibits mammary tumorigenesis in laboratory animals and in cell culture models. Previously we have documented that MSC inhibits DNA synthesis, total protein kinase C and cyclin-dependent kinase 2 kinase activities, leading to prolonged S-phase arrest and elevation of growth-arrested DNA damage genes, followed by caspase activation and apoptosis in a synchronized TM6 mouse mammary tumor model. The aim of the present study was to examine the efficacy of MSC against TM6 mouse mammary hyperplastic outgrowth (TM6-HOG) and to determine in vivo targets of MSC in this model system.
Methods: Twenty mammary fat pads each from female Balb/c mice transplanted with TM6-HOG and fed with 0.1 ppm selenium and with 3 ppm selenium respectively, were evaluated at 4 and 12 weeks after transplantation for growth spread, proliferative index and caspase-3 activity. Thirteen mice transplanted with TM6-HOG in each selenium group were observed for tumor formation over 23 weeks. Tumors from mice in both groups were compared by cDNA array analysis and data were confirmed by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. To determine the effect of MSC on the expression of the novel target gene and on cell migration, experiments were performed in triplicate.
Results: A dietary dose of 3 ppm selenium significantly reduced the growth spread and induced caspase-3 activity in mammary fat pads in comparison with mice fed with the basal diet (0.1 ppm selenium). The extended administration (23 weeks) of 3 ppm selenium in the diet resulted in a tumor incidence of 77% in comparison with 100% tumor incidence in 0.1 ppm selenium-fed animals. The size of TM6 tumors in the supplemented group was smaller (mean 0.69 cm2) than in the mice fed with the basal diet (mean 0.93 cm2). cDNA array analysis showed a reduced expression of osteopontin (OPN) in mammary tumors of mice fed with the 3 ppm selenium diet in comparison with OPN expression in tumors arising in 0.1 ppm selenium-fed mice. A 24-hour treatment of TM6 cells with MSC significantly inhibited their migration and also reduced their OPN expression in comparison with untreated cells.
Conclusions: OPN is a potential target gene in the inhibition of mammary tumorigenesis by selenium.