Development of an engineered peptide antagonist against periostin to overcome doxorubicin resistance in breast cancer

BMC Cancer. 2021 Jan 14;21(1):65. doi: 10.1186/s12885-020-07761-w.


Background: Chemoresistance is one of the main problems in treatment of cancer. Periostin (PN) is a stromal protein which is mostly secreted from cancer associated fibroblasts in the tumor microenvironment and can promote cancer progression including cell survival, metastasis, and chemoresistance. The main objective of this study was to develop an anti-PN peptide from the bacteriophage library to overcome PN effects in breast cancer (BCA) cells.

Methods: A twelve amino acids bacteriophage display library was used for biopanning against the PN active site. A selected clone was sequenced and analyzed for peptide primary structure. A peptide was synthesized and tested for the binding affinity to PN. PN effects including a proliferation, migration and a drug sensitivity test were performed using PN overexpression BCA cells or PN treatment and inhibited by an anti-PN peptide. An intracellular signaling mechanism of inhibition was studied by western blot analysis. Lastly, PN expressions in BCA patients were analyzed along with clinical data.

Results: The results showed that a candidate anti-PN peptide was synthesized and showed affinity binding to PN. PN could increase proliferation and migration of BCA cells and these effects could be inhibited by an anti-PN peptide. There was significant resistance to doxorubicin in PN-overexpressed BCA cells and this effect could be reversed by an anti-PN peptide in associations with phosphorylation of AKT and expression of survivin. In BCA patients, serum PN showed a correlation with tissue PN expression but there was no significant correlation with clinical data.

Conclusions: This finding supports that anti-PN peptide is expected to be used in the development of peptide therapy to reduce PN-induced chemoresistance in BCA.

Keywords: Breast cancer; Chemoresistance; Doxorubicin; Periostin; Phage display 12-amino acids library.

MeSH terms

  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / pharmacology
  • Apoptosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cancer-Associated Fibroblasts / drug effects
  • Cancer-Associated Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Cancer-Associated Fibroblasts / pathology
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Doxorubicin / pharmacology*
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Peptide Fragments / chemistry
  • Peptide Fragments / pharmacology*
  • Prognosis
  • Protein Engineering*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Tumor Microenvironment


  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • POSTN protein, human
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Doxorubicin