BACKGROUND: Ethanol is a tumor promoter. Both epidemiological and experimental studies suggest that ethanol may enhance the metastasis of breast cancer cells. We have previously demonstrated that ethanol increased the migration/invasion of breast cancer cells expressing high levels of ErbB2. Amplification of ErbB2 is found in 20-30% of breast cancer patients and is associated with poor prognosis. We sought to identify agents that can prevent or ameliorate ethanol-induced invasion of breast cancer cells. Cyanidin-3-glucoside (C3G), an anthocyanin present in many vegetables and fruits, is a potent natural antioxidant. Ethanol exposure causes the accumulation of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS). This study evaluated the effect of C3G on ethanol-induced breast cancer cell migration/invasion.

RESULTS: C3G attenuated ethanol-induced migration/invasion of breast cancer cells expressing high levels of ErbB2 (BT474, MDA-MB231 and MCF7(ErbB2)) in a concentration dependent manner. C3G decreased ethanol-mediated cell adhesion to the extracellular matrix (ECM) as well as the amount of focal adhesions and the formation of lamellipodial protrusion. It inhibited ethanol-stimulated phosphorylation of ErbB2, cSrc, FAK and p130(Cas), as well as interactions among these proteins. C3G abolished ethanol-mediated p130(Cas)/JNK interaction.

CONCLUSIONS: C3G blocks ethanol-induced activation of the ErbB2/cSrc/FAK pathway which is necessary for cell migration/invasion. C3G may be beneficial in preventing/reducing ethanol-induced breast cancer metastasis.

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Published in Molecular Cancer, v. 9, 285, p. 1-14.

© 2010 Xu et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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This research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (AA01540 and AA017226).