Selenoesters and Selenoanhydrides as Novel Agents Against Resistant Breast Cancer

Anticancer Res. 2019 Jul;39(7):3777-3783. doi: 10.21873/anticanres.13526.


Background/aim: Selenium-containing compounds are becoming new alternatives in experimental chemotherapy in order to overcome multidrug resistance in cancer. The main goal of this study was to determine whether combined treatment with new Se-compounds would increase the effect of conventional doxorubicin chemotherapy in breast cancer cell lines.

Materials and methods: Se-compounds were evaluated regarding their cytotoxic and apoptosis-inducing effect on MCF-7 and ATP-binding cassette subfamily B member 1 (ABCB1)-overexpressing KCR breast cancer cell lines. Moreover, the interaction of Se-compounds with doxorubicin was assessed using the MTT assay.

Results: Selenoanhydride exerted a selective activity towards the doxorubicin-resistant KCR cell line overexpressing ABCB1. Among the selenoesters, only ketone-containing selenoesters exerted significant cytotoxic activity against MCF-7 and KCR cell lines and the Se-compounds acted synergistically with doxorubicin on the KCR cell line.

Conclusion: The importance of the COSeCH2COCH3 and COSeCH2CO(CH3)3 moieties for the cytotoxic and adjuvant role of Se-compounds was highlighted.

Keywords: ABCB1 (P-glycoprotein); Selenoesters; apoptosis; breast cancer; doxorubicin.

MeSH terms

  • Anhydrides / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Doxorubicin / pharmacology
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / drug effects*
  • Esters / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Selenium Compounds / pharmacology*


  • Anhydrides
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Esters
  • Selenium Compounds
  • Doxorubicin