Natural herbal compounds with novel actions different from existing breast cancer (BCa) treatment modalities are attractive for improving therapeutic efficacy and safety. We have recently shown that penta-1,2,3,4,6-O-galloyl-β-D-glucose (PGG) induced S-phase arrest in prostate cancer (PCa) cells through inhibiting DNA replicative synthesis and G1 arrest, in addition to inducing cell death at higher levels of exposure. We and others have shown that PGG through intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection exerts a strong in vivo growth suppression of human PCa xenograft models in athymic nude mice. This study aims to test the hypothesis that the novel targeting actions of PGG are applicable to BCa cells, especially those lacking proven drugable targets.
Mono-layer cell culture models of p53-wild type estrogen receptor (ER)-dependent MCF-7 BCa cells and p53-mutant ER-/progesterone receptor (PR)- and Her2-regular (triple-negative) MDA-MB-231 BCa were exposed to PGG for a comprehensive investigation of cellular consequences and molecular targets/mediators. To test the in vivo efficacy, female athymic mice inoculated with MDA-MB-231 xenograft were treated with 20 mg PGG/kg body weight by daily gavage starting 4 days after cancer cell inoculation.
Exposure to PGG induced S-phase arrest in both cell lines as indicated by the lack of 5-bromo2'-deoxy-uridine (BrdU) incorporation into S-phase cells as well as G1 arrest. Higher levels of PGG induced more caspase-mediated apoptosis in MCF-7, in strong association with induction of P53 Ser15 phosphorylation, than in MDA-MB-231 cells. The cell cycle arrests were achieved without an induction of cyclin dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitory proteins P21Cip1 and P27Kip1. PGG treatment led to decreased cyclin D1 in both cell lines and over-expressing cyclin D1 attenuated G1 arrest and hastened S arrest. In serum-starvation synchronized MCF-7 cells, down-regulation of cyclin D1 was associated with de-phosphorylation of retinoblastoma (Rb) protein by PGG shortly before G1-S transition. In vivo, oral administration of PGG led to a greater than 60% inhibition of MDA-MB231 xenograft growth without adverse effect on host body weight.
Our in vitro and in vivo data support PGG as a potential drug candidate for breast cancer with novel targeting actions, especially for a triple negative BCa xenograft model.