Research Papers:

Combination therapy of RY10-4 with the γ-secretase inhibitor DAPT shows promise in treating HER2-amplified breast cancer

Feng Su, Shilin Zhu, Jinlan Ruan, Yagmur Muftuoglu, Longbo Zhang _ and Qianying Yuan

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:4142-4154. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.6769

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Feng Su1, Shilin Zhu2, Jinlan Ruan3, Yagmur Muftuoglu4, Longbo Zhang5, Qianying Yuan3,4

1Department of Emergency, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, China

2The Second Affiliated Hospital, Hunan University of Chinese Medicine, Changsha, China

3Department of Pharmacology, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China

4Department of Pharmacology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA

5Department of Neurosurgery, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, China

Correspondence to:

Longbo Zhang, e-mail: [email protected], [email protected]

Qianying Yuan, e-mail: [email protected], [email protected]

Keywords: RY10-4, resistance, Notch, breast cancer

Received: July 01, 2015     Accepted: December 01, 2015     Published: December 26, 2015


RY10-4, a novel protoapigenone analog, shows potent cytotoxicity against human breast cancer cells. However, breast cancer cell lines overexpressing human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), SKBR3 and BT474, showed less sensitivity to RY10-4 when compared to breast cancer cells lines expressing lower levels of HER2, such as MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 cells. This was associated with aberrant hyperactivity in Notch signaling in cells treated with RY10-4, since treatment with RY10-4 causes an increase in Notch activity by 2-to3.5-fold in SKBR3 and BT474 cell lines. The increase in activity was abrogated with a γ-secretase inhibitor, DAPT, or with Notch1 small-interfering RNA (si-Notch1). Cell proliferation was inhibited more effectively by RY10-4 plus DAPT or si-Notch1 than either agent alone. RY10-4 plus DAPT increases apoptosis in both HER2-overexpressing cell lines by two-fold compared to RY10-4 alone, while DAPT alone has no significant effects on apoptosis. In addition, we previously found RY10-4 could inhibit tumor growth through the PI3K/AKT pathway. Here we report that the combination of RY10-4 and DAPT exhibit additive suppression on AKT phosphorylation, contributing to the anti-cancer effects. In an animal model, this combination therapy inhibits the growth of SKBR3 tumor xenografts in nude mice to a greater extent than treatment with either reagent alone. These results indicate that the aberrant activation of Notch signaling impedes the inhibitory effect of RY10-4 on HER2-amplified cell proliferation. Furthermore, these adverse effects can be prevented by treatment combining RY10-4 with a Notch pathway inhibitor.

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