Trastuzumab (or Herceptin), as the first erbB2-targeted therapy, has been successfully used to treat breast cancer patients with erbB2-overexpressing tumors. However, resistances to trastuzumab frequently occur, and novel strategies/agents are urgently needed to abrogate the resistant phenotype. Our current study explores the potential of SNDX-275, a class I HDAC inhibitor, to overcome trastuzumab resistance and investigates the combinational effects of SNDX-275 and trastuzumab on both sensitive and resistant breast cancer cells. Cell proliferation assays showed that SNDX-275 significantly enhanced trastuzumab-induced growth inhibition in trastuzumab-sensitive, erbB2-overexpressing breast cancer cells. Importantly, SNDX-275 at its therapeutic range re-sensitized trastuzumab-resistant cells to trastuzumab-mediated growth inhibition. SNDX-275 in combination with trastuzumab resulted in a dramatic reduction of erbB3 and its phosphorylation (P-erbB3), and inhibition of Akt signaling. Apoptotic-ELISA and western blot analyses confirmed that the combinations of SNDX-275 and trastuzumab as compared to SNDX-275 alone significantly enhanced DNA fragmentation and induced more PARP cleavage and caspase-3 activation in both trastuzumab-sensitive and -resistant breast cancer cells. Furthermore, co-immunoprecipitation assays revealed that SNDX-275 mainly attenuated the interactions of erbB2 and erbB3 receptors, but had no significant effect on erbB2/IGF-1R or erbB3/IGF-1R associations in the trastuzumab-resistant breast cancer cells. These data indicated that SNDX-275 enhanced trastuzumab efficacy against erbB2-overexpressing breast cancer cells, and exhibited potential to overcome trastuzumab resistance via disrupting erbB2/erbB3 interactions and inactivating PI-3K/Akt signaling. SNDX-275 may be included in erbB2-targeted regimen as a novel strategy to treat breast cancer patients whose tumors overexpress erbB2.
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