Triple-negative breast tumors are very aggressive and contain relatively high proportion of cancer stem cells, and are resistant to chemotherapeutic drugs including cisplatin. To overcome these limitations, we combined eugenol, a natural polyphenolic molecule, with cisplatin to normalize cisplatin mediated toxicity and potential drug resistance. Interestingly, the combination treatment provided significantly greater cytotoxic and pro-apoptotic effects as compared to treatment with eugenol or cisplatin alone on several triple-negative breast cancer cells both in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, adding eugenol to cisplatin potentiated the inhibition of breast cancer stem cells by inhibiting ALDH enzyme activity and ALDH-positive tumor initiating cells. We provide also clear evidence that eugenol potentiates cisplatin inhibition of the NF-κB signaling pathway. Indeed, the binding of NF-κB to its cognate binding sites present in the promoters of IL-6 and IL-8 was dramatically reduced, which led to potent down-regulation of the IL-6 and IL-8 cytokines upon combination treatment relative to the single agents. Similar effects were observed on proliferation, inhibition of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and stemness markers in tumor xenografts. These results provide strong preclinical justification for combining cisplatin with eugenol as therapeutic approach for triple-negative breast cancers through targeting the resistant ALDH-positive cells and inhibiting the NF-κB pathway.
Keywords: ALDH; NF-κB; breast cancer stem cells; cisplatin; eugenol.
© 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.