Original Article

Intratumoral estrogen sulfotransferase induction contributes to the anti-breast cancer effects of the dithiocarbamate derivative TM208

Xi-wei Ji, Guang-ping Chen, Yan Song, Ming Hua, Li-jie Wang, Liang Li, Yin Yuan, Si-yuan Wang, Tian-yan Zhou, Wei Lu
DOI: 10.1038/aps.2015.14


Aim: Sulfotransferase-catalyzed sulfation is the most important pathway for inactivating estrogens. Thus, activation of estrogen sulfotransferase (EST) may be an alternative approach for the treatment of estrogen-dependent breast cancer. In this study we investigated the involvement of EST in anti-breast cancer effects of the dithiocarbamate derivative TM208 in vitro and in vivo.
Methods: The viability of human breast cancer MCF-7 cells was determined using a SBB assay. Nude mice bearing MCF-7 cells were orally administered TM208 (50 and 150 mg·kg−1·d−1) for 18 days. The xenograft tumors and uteri were collected. The mRNA expression of EST was examined with real-time PCR. EST protein was detected with Western blot, ELISA or immunohistochemical staining assays. A radioactive assay was used to measure the EST activity. Uterotropic bioassay was used to examine the uterine estrogen responses.
Results: Treatment with TM208 (10, 15 and 20 μmol/L) concentration-dependently increased EST expression in MCF-7 cells in vitro. Co-treatment with triclosan, an inhibitor of sulfonation, abolished TM208-induced cytotoxicity in MCF-7 cells. TM208 exhibited an apparent anti-estrogenic property: it exerted more potent cytotoxicity in E2-treated MCF-7 cells. In the nude mice bearing MCF-7 cells, TM208 administration time-dependently increased the expression and activity of EST, and blocked the gradual increase of E2 concentration in the xenograft tumors. Furthermore, TM208 administration blocked the estrogens-stimulated uterine enlargement. Tamoxifen, a positive control drug, produced similar effects on the expression and activity of EST in vitro and in vivo.
Conclusion: The induction of EST and reduction of estrogen concentration contribute to the anti-breast cancer action of TM208 and tamoxifen. TM208 may be developed as anticancer drug for the treatment of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer.
Keywords: breast cancer; dithiocarbamate; tamoxifen; estrogen; estrogen sulfotransferase; human tumor xenograft model; uterotropic bioassay

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