Effects of 5-fluorouracil and gemcitabine on a breast cancer cell line (MCF-7) via the JAK/STAT pathway

Acta Histochem. 2012 Nov;114(7):641-6. doi: 10.1016/j.acthis.2011.11.010. Epub 2011 Dec 14.


Aberrant activation of the JAK/STAT pathway may predispose to malignancy as a consequence of the deregulation of cell proliferation, differentiation or apoptosis such as in cancer of the blood, head and neck, and breast. In our study we aimed to investigate the effects of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and gemcitabine on a breast cancer cell line (MCF-7 cells) via the JAK/STAT pathway. Distribution of JAK1, JAK2, JAK3 and STAT2, STAT3, STAT4, STAT5 were evaluated on MCF-7 cells following gemcitabine and 5-FU treatment and in the absence of drug treatment by an indirect immunohistochemical method. It was observed that JAK1, JAK3, STAT5 and particularly STAT2 activation were more effective than the other JAK/STATs in breast cancer progression. Following treatment with 5-FU, JAK1 and STAT5 immunoreactivities were decreased in MCF-7 cells in comparison with both gemcitabine-treated and non-treated groups. These results suggest that the JAK/STAT pathway plays an important role in breast cancer pathogenesis and may be more affected after 5-FU treatment rather than gemcitabine. Drugs which block STAT5 may provide a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of breast cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic / pharmacology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Cell Line, Tumor / drug effects
  • Deoxycytidine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Deoxycytidine / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Fluorouracil / pharmacology*
  • Gemcitabine
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Janus Kinases / metabolism*
  • STAT Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic
  • STAT Transcription Factors
  • Deoxycytidine
  • Janus Kinases
  • Fluorouracil
  • Gemcitabine