Suppression of Heregulin-β1/HER2-Modulated Invasive and Aggressive Phenotype of Breast Carcinoma by Pterostilbene via Inhibition of Matrix Metalloproteinase-9, p38 Kinase Cascade and Akt Activation

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:562187. doi: 10.1093/ecam/nep093. Epub 2011 Feb 14.

Abstract

Invasive breast cancer is the major cause of death among females and its incidence is closely linked to HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) overexpression. Pterostilbene, a natural analog of resveratrol, exerts its cancer chemopreventive activity similar to resveratrol by inhibiting cancer cell proliferation and inducing apoptosis. However, the anti-invasive effect of pterostilbene on HER2-bearing breast cancer has not been evaluated. Here, we used heregulin-β1 (HRG-β1), a ligand for HER3, to transactivate HER2 signaling. We found that pterostilbene was able to suppress HRG-β1-mediated cell invasion, motility and cell transformation of MCF-7 human breast carcinoma through down-regulation of matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) activity and growth inhibition. In parallel, pterostilbene also inhibited protein and mRNA expression of MMP-9 driven by HRG-β1, suggesting that pterostilbene decreased HRG-β1-mediated MMP-9 induction via transcriptional regulation. Examining the signaling pathways responsible for HRG-β1-associated MMP-9 induction and growth inhibition, we observed that pterostilbene, as well as SB203580 (p38 kinase inhibitor), can abolish the phosphorylation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38 kinase), a downstream HRG-β1-responsive kinase responsible for MMP-9 induction. In addition, HRG-β1-driven Akt phosphorylation required for cell proliferation was also suppressed by pterostilbene. Taken together, our present results suggest that pterostilbene may serve as a chemopreventive agent to inhibit HRG-β1/HER2-mediated aggressive and invasive phenotype of breast carcinoma through down-regulation of MMP-9, p38 kinase and Akt activation.