Combination treatment with auranofin and nutlin-3a induces synergistic cytotoxicity in breast cancer cells.J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2019; 82(10):626-637.JT
Auranofin is a gold complex categorized as an anti-rheumatic agent. Recently, several investigators suggested that auranofin may act as a potent anti-cancer drug for breast tumors. Nutlin-3a is a cis-imidazoline analog which prevents interaction between mouse double minute 2 homolog (MDM2) and the tumor suppressor p53. The aim of this study was to examine cell growth inhibition mediated by auranofin or nutlin-3a individually as well as in combination with MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells. To assess any potential synergistic effects between auranofin and nutlin-3a, low concentrations of auranofin and nutlin-3a were simultaneously incubated with MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells. Cell viability assay, caspase-3/7 assay, and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage revealed that auranofin and nutlin-3a exerted a synergistic effect on cancer cell apoptosis. Isobologram analysis of MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells noted evident synergism between auranofin and nutlin-3a. The combined treatment increased the expression of mitochondrial pro-apoptotic factors such as Bcl-2 associated X protein and Bcl-2 homologous antagonist/killer. Further, combination treatment signiﬁcantly enhanced reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells. In conclusion, data demonstrated that combined treatment with auranofin and nutlin-3a exhibited a synergistic action on breast cancer cells and this combination may be considered for use as a novel therapeutic strategy for breast cancer.