Aim: Sulfasalazine (SSZ) displayed anti-cancer activities. Vitamin E succinate (VES) could inhibit cell growth in various cancer cells. However, chemical therapies were often not useful for triple-negative breast cancer cells (TNBCs) treatment. Here, this study investigated the anti-cancer effects and the mechanisms on TNBCs under combination treatment with SSZ and VES. Methods: Cell viability was analyzed by using the MTT assay. The H2O2 levels were determined by using lucigenin-amplified chemiluminescence method. In addition, caspase and MAPs signals were studied by using western blotting. Results: Low-dose VES antagonized the SSZ-induced cytotoxicity effects while high-dose VES promoted the SSZ-induced cytotoxicity effects on TNBCs. In addition, SSZ alone treatment activated both caspase-3 and ERK signals, however, VES alone treatment only activated JNK signals. On the other hand, activation of caspase-3, JNK, and ERK were found in SSZ plus VES-treated cells. Conclusion: Combined SSZ and VES has synergistic or antagonistic cytotoxic effects depending on VES concentration. In addition, different cytotoxic signals are induced on SSZ-treated, VES-treated and SSZ plus VES-treated cells.
Keywords: sulfasalazine; triple-negative breast cancer cells; vitamin E succinate.