Methyl sulfone manifests anticancer activity in a metastatic murine breast cancer cell line and in human breast cancer tissue--part 2: human breast cancer tissue

Chemotherapy. 2013;59(1):24-34. doi: 10.1159/000351099. Epub 2013 Jun 27.


Background: Methyl sulfone is a small molecule that reverses cancerous phenotypes of a melanoma cell line. Here, we sought to determine whether methyl sulfone was effective against human breast cancer tissue.

Methods: We studied normal and cancerous breast tissue obtained from 17 patients.

Results: Methyl sulfone introduced structural order, with cancer tissue taking on the morphology of normal in vivo breast tissue; this structural order was sustainable over long-term culture. Methyl sulfone promoted proper wound healing, including migration of cells into wounded areas and establishment of stable contact inhibition once wounds were covered. Methyl sulfone decreased expression of two breast stem cell marker proteins, HCAM and OCT3/4, which are associated with aberrantly rapid migration of metastatic cells. Finally, normal and cancerous primary breast cells remained viable and healthy in methyl sulfone culture for at least 90 days.

Conclusion: Methyl sulfone reintroduced a normal structural phenotype to human breast cancer tissues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Breast / cytology
  • Breast / drug effects
  • Breast / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyaluronan Receptors / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-3 / metabolism
  • Sulfones / pharmacology*
  • Wound Healing / drug effects


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • CD44 protein, human
  • Hyaluronan Receptors
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-3
  • Sulfones
  • dimethyl sulfone
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide