Oxidative stress is considered a causative factor in carcinogenesis, but also in the development of resistance to current chemotherapies. The appropriate usage of redox-modulating compounds is limited by the lack of knowledge of their impact on specific molecular pathways. Increased levels of the IKKε kinase, as a result of gene amplification or aberrant expression, are observed in a substantial number of breast carcinomas. IKKε not only plays a key role in cell transformation and invasiveness, but also in the development of resistance to tamoxifen. Here, we studied the effect of in vitro treatment with the redox-modulating triphenylmethane dyes, Gentian Violet and Brilliant Green, and nitroxide Tempol on IKKε expression and cell proliferation in the human breast cancer epithelial cell lines exhibiting amplification of IKKε, MCF-7 and ZR75.1. We show that Gentian Violet, Brilliant Green and Tempol significantly decrease intracellular superoxide anion levels and inhibit IKKε expression and cell viability. Treatment with Gentian Violet and Brilliant Green was associated with a reduced cyclin D1 expression and activation of caspase 3 and/or 7. Tempol decreased cyclin D1 expression in both cell lines, while activation of caspase 7 was only observed in MCF-7 cells. Silencing of the superoxide-generating NOX2 NADPH oxidase expressed in breast cancer cells resulted in the significant reduction of IKKε expression. Taken together, our results suggest that redox-modulating compounds targeting NOX2 could present a particular therapeutic interest in combination therapy against breast carcinomas exhibiting IKKε amplification.
Mukawera, E., Chartier, S., Williams, V., Pagano, P. J., Lapointe, R., & Grandvaux, N. (2015). Redox-modulating agents target NOX2-dependent IKKε oncogenic kinase expression and proliferation in human breast cancer cell lines. Redox Biology, 6, 9–18. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.redox.2015.06.010