1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D3), the hormonal form of vitamin D, has anticancer activity in vivo and in vitro. Doxorubicin exerts its cytotoxic effect on tumor cells mainly by two mechanisms: (a) generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS); and (b) inhibition of topoisomerase II. We studied the combined cytotoxic action of 1,25(OH)2D3 and doxorubicin on MCF-7 breast cancer cells. Pretreatment with 1,25(OH)2D3 resulted in enhanced cytotoxicity of doxorubicin. The average enhancing effect after a 72-h pretreatment with 1,25(OH)2D3 (10 nM) followed by a 24-h treatment with 1 μg/ml doxorubicin was 74 ± 9% (mean ± SE). Under these experimental conditions, 1,25(OH)2D3 on its own did not affect cell number or viability. 1,25(OH)2D3 also enhanced the cytotoxic activity of another ROS generating quinone, menadione, but did not affect cytotoxicity induced by the topoisomerase inhibitor etoposide. The antioxidant N-acetylcysteine slightly reduced the cytotoxic activity of doxorubicin but had a marked protective effect against the combined action of 1,25(OH)2D3 and doxorubicin. These results indicate that ROS are involved in the interaction between 1,25(OH)2D3 and doxorubicin. 1,25(OH)2D3 also increased doxorubicin cytotoxicity in primary cultures of rat cardiomyocytes. Treatment of MCF-7 cells with 1,25(OH)2D3 alone markedly reduced the activity, protein, and mRNA levels of the cytoplasmic antioxidant enzyme Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase, which indicated that the hormone inhibits its biosynthesis. This reduction in the antioxidant capacity of the cells could account for the synergistic interaction between 1,25(OH)2D3 and doxorubicin and may also suggest increased efficacy of 1,25(OH)2D3 or its analogues in combination with other ROS-generating anticancer therapeutic modalities.
|Number of pages||6|
|State||Published - 15 Feb 1999|