Research Papers:

Zerumbone suppresses the motility and tumorigenecity of triple negative breast cancer cells via the inhibition of TGF-β1 signaling pathway

Sangmin Kim, Jeongmin Lee, Myeongjin Jeon, Jeong Eon Lee and Seok Jin Nam _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:1544-1558. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.6441

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Sangmin Kim1, Jeongmin Lee1, Myeongjin Jeon1,2, Jeong Eon Lee1,2 and Seok Jin Nam1

1 Department of Surgery, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

2 Department of Health Sciences and Technology, Samsung Advanced Institute for Health Sciences and Technology, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Correspondence to:

Seok Jin Nam, email:

Jeong Eon Lee, email:

Keywords: zerumbone, TGF-β1, Smad3, cell invasion, triple negative breast cancer

Received: June 30, 2015 Accepted: November 21, 2015 Published: November 30, 2015


Aberrant transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) plays an important role in the development of cancer such as tumor metastasis and invasion. TGF-β-responsive gene signature is highly activated in chemotherapy-treated triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). Here, we investigated the effect of zerumbone (ZER) on TGF-β1 signaling pathway and tumorigenecity of TNBC cells. Our results showed that the level of TGF-β1 mRNA expression and cell invasiveness were higher in TNBC cells than in non-TNBC cells. On the other hand, the cell motility of TNBC cells was completely suppressed by LY2109761, a novel selective TGF-β receptor type I/II (TβRI/II) dual inhibitor. In addition, FN and MMP-2 expression, which play an important role on cell motility in various cancer cells, were dose-dependently decreased by LY2109761. TGF-β1 increased FN, MMP-2 and MMP-9 expression in HCC1806 TNBC cells. TGF-β1-induced MMP-9 expression was decreased by both a MEK inhibitor, UO126, and a smad3 inhibitor, SIS3. Induction of FN and MMP-2 by TGF-β1 was just decreased by SIS3. Overexpression of smad3 significantly increased FN, MMP-2, and MMP-9 expression. Interestingly, ZER significantly suppressed TGF-β1-induced FN, MMP-2, and MMP-9 expression in HCC1806 cells. In addition, ZER completely decreased TGF-β1-induced the phosphorylation of smad3. Finally, we observed that ZER suppressed the tumorigenecity such as tumor volume, weight, Ki67 expression, and metastasis in TNBC cells xenograft models. Taken together, we demonstrated that ZER suppresses TGF-β1-induced FN, MMP-2, and MMP-9 expression through the inactivation of smad3 and inhibits the tumorigenecity of TNBC cells. Therefore, we suggest that ZER may act as a promising drug for treatment of TNBC.

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