Background: Breast cancer is the most frequent malignancy in women and drug resistance is the major obstacle for its successful chemotherapy. In the present study, we analyzed the involvement of an oncofetal gene, sal-like 4 (SALL4), in the tumor proliferation and drug resistance of human breast cancer. Results: Our study showed that SALL4 was up-regulated in the drug resistant breast cancer cell line, MCF-7/ADR, compared to the other five cell lines. We established the lentiviral system expressing short hairpin RNA to knockdown SALL4 in MCF-7/ADR cells. Down-regulation of SALL4 inhibited the proliferation of MCF-7/ADR cells and induced the G1 phase arrest in cell cycle, accompanied by an obvious reduction of the expression of cyclinD1 and CDK4. Besides, down-regulating SALL4 can re-sensitize MCF-7/ADR to doxorubicin hydrochloride (ADMh) and had potent synergy with ADMh in MCF-7/ADR cells. Depletion of SALL4 led to a decrease in IC50 for ADMh and an inhibitory effect on the ability to form colonies in MCF-7/ADR cells. With SALL4 knockdown, ADMh accumulation rate of MCF-7/ADR cells was increased, while the expression of BCRP and c-myc was significantly decreased. Furthermore, silencing SALL4 also suppressed the growth of the xenograft tumors and reversed their resistance to ADMh in vivo. Conclusion: SALL4 knockdown inhibits the growth of the drug resistant breast cancer due to cell cycle arrest and reverses tumor chemo-resistance through down-regulating the membrane transporter, BCPR. Thus, SALL4 has potential as a novel target for the treatment of breast cancer.
Chen, Y. Y., Li, Z. Z., Ye, Y. Y., Xu, F., Niu, R. J., Zhang, H. C., … Han, B. S. (2016). Knockdown of SALL4 inhibits the proliferation and reverses the resistance of MCF-7/ADR cells to doxorubicin hydrochloride. BMC Molecular Biology, 17(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12867-016-0055-y