Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is the most lethal and aggressive subtype of breast cancer. AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a major energy regulator that suppresses tumor growth, and 1-(3-chloro-4-((trifluoromethyl)thio)phenyl)-3-(4-(trifluoromethoxy)phenyl)urea (FND-4b) is a novel AMPK activator that inhibits growth and induces apoptosis in colon cancer. The purpose of this project was to test the effects of FND-4b on AMPK activation, proliferation, and apoptosis in breast cancer with a particular emphasis on TNBC.
Materials and methods
(i) Estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer (ER+BC; MCF-7, and T-47D), TNBC (MDA-MB-231 and HCC-1806), and breast cancer stem cells were treated with FND-4b for 24h. Immunoblot analysis assessed AMPK, acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC), ribosomal protein S6, cyclin D1, and cleaved PARP. (ii) Sulforhodamine B growth assays were performed after treating ER+BC and TNBC cells with FND-4b for 72h. Proliferation was also assessed by counting cells after 72h of FND-4b treatment. (iii) Cell death ELISA assays were performed after treating ER+BC and TNBC cells with FND-4b for 72h.
(i) FND-4b increased AMPK activation with concomitant decreases in ACC activity, phosphorylated S6, and cyclin D1 in all subtypes. (ii) FND-4b decreased proliferation in all cells, while dose-dependent growth decreases were found in ER+BC and TNBC. (iii) Increases in apoptosis were observed in ER+BC and the MDA-MB-231 cell line with FND-4b treatment.
Our findings indicate that FND-4b decreases proliferation for a variety of breast cancers by activating AMPK and has notable effects on TNBC. The growth reductions were mediated through decreases in fatty acid synthesis (ACC), mTOR signaling (S6), and cell cycle flux (cyclin D1). ER+BC cells were more susceptible to FND-4b-induced apoptosis, but MDA-MB-231 cells still underwent apoptosis with higher dose treatment. Further development of FND compounds could result in a novel therapeutic for TNBC.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
This work was supported by National Institutes of Health [T32 ES007266 (Daret St. Clair) and R01 CA195573 (BME)].
All relevant data are within the manuscript and its Supporting Information files.
S1 Fig. Data underlying the figures for the SRB growth assays. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0209392.s001 (XLSX)
S2 Fig. Data underlying the figures for the cell proliferation assays. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0209392.s002 (XLSX)
S3 Fig. Data underlying the figures for the ELISA cell death assays. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0209392.s003 (XLSX)
Johnson, Jeremy; Rychahou, Piotr G.; Sviripa, Vitaliy M.; Weiss, Heidi L.; Liu, Chunming; Watt, David S.; and Evers, B. Mark, "Induction of AMPK Activation by N,N'-Diarylurea FND-4b Decreases Growth and Increases Apoptosis in Triple Negative and Estrogen-Receptor Positive Breast Cancers" (2019). Markey Cancer Center Faculty Publications. 143.
S1 Fig. Data underlying the figures for the SRB growth assays.
journal.pone.0209392.s002.xlsx (13 kB)
S2 Fig. Data underlying the figures for the cell proliferation assays.
journal.pone.0209392.s003.xlsx (10 kB)
S3 Fig. Data underlying the figures for the ELISA cell death assays.