Background: Tocotrienols belong to the vitamin E family and have multiple anticancer effects, such as antiproliferative, antioxidant, pro-apoptosis and antimetastatic. This study aimed to identify the genes that are regulated in human breast cancer cells following exposure to various isomers of vitamin E as these may be potential targets for the treatment of breast cancer.
Materials and methods: Gene expression profiling was performed with MCF-7 cells at inhibitory conditions of IC(50) using Illumina's Sentrix Array Human-6 BeadChips. The expression levels of selected differentially expressed genes were verified by quantitative real-time-PCR (qRT-PCR).
Results: The treatment with tocotrienol-rich palm oil fraction (TRF), α-tocopherol and isomers of tocotrienols (α, γ, and δ) altered the expression of several genes that code for proteins involved in the regulation of immune response, tumour growth and metastatic suppression, apoptotic signalling, transcription, protein biosynthesis regulation and many others.
Conclusion: Treatment of human MCF-7 cells with tocotrienol isomers causes the down-regulation of the API5 gene and up-regulation of the MIG6 gene and the differential expression of other genes reported to play a key role in breast cancer biology.