Nitroxyl inhibits breast tumor growth and angiogenesis

Int J Cancer. 2008 Apr 15;122(8):1905-10. doi: 10.1002/ijc.23305.


Nitroxyl (HNO) can inhibit the glycolytic enzyme glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH). Because of the importance of glycolysis in many malignant cells, we thus propose that HNO can adversely affect tumor growth. This hypothesis was tested using in vitro and in vivo models of breast cancer. We report here for the first time that HNO suppresses the proliferation of both estrogen receptor (ER)-positive and ER-negative human breast cancer cell lines, in a dose dependent manner. Mice treated with HNO either injected into the tumor itself or via the intraperitoneal approach had smaller xenograft tumor size. In addition to significantly decreased blood vessel density in the HNO-treated tumors, we observed lower levels of circulating serum vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Accordingly, there was a decrease in total HIF-1alpha (hypoxia-inducible factor) protein in HNO-treated tumor cells. Further studies showed inhibition of GAPDH activity in HNO-treated human breast cancer cell lines and in HNO-treated tumor tissue derived from xenografts. One explanation for the multiplicity of actions observed after HNO treatment could be the effect from the initial inhibition of GAPDH, providing a potential therapeutic avenue based upon blocking glycolysis resulting in decreased HIF-1alpha, thus leading to angiogenesis inhibition. Therefore, HNO appears to act via mechanism(s) different from those of existing breast cancer drugs, making it a potential candidate to overcome known and emerging drug resistance pathways.

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Blotting, Western
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenases / metabolism
  • Glycolysis / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit / drug effects
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit / metabolism
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling
  • Mice
  • Mice, SCID
  • Nitrites / pharmacology
  • Nitrogen Oxides / pharmacology*
  • Transplantation, Heterologous
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / drug effects
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit
  • Nitrites
  • Nitrogen Oxides
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • oxyhyponitrite
  • Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenases
  • nitroxyl