Activation of CDK2 in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) can contribute to non-canonical phosphorylation of a TGFß signaling component, Smad3, promoting cell proliferation and migration. Inhibition of CDK2 was shown to decrease breast cancer oncogenesis. Eribulin chemotherapy was used effectively in the treatment of TNBC. To this end, we tested therapeutic efficacy of a novel CDK2/9 inhibitor, CYC065, eribulin, and the combination of CYC065 and eribulin in 3 different TNBC cell lines, and an in vivo xenograft model. Specifically, we characterized cell proliferation, apoptosis, migration, cell cycle associated protein expression, treatment-related transcription factor activity, and tumor growth in TNBC. Treatment with CYC065 and eribulin in combination had a superior effect on decreasing cell proliferation, inducing apoptosis, and inhibiting migration in TNBC cell lines in vitro. Combination therapy inhibited non-canonical Smad3 phosphorylation at the T179 site in the protein linker region, and resulted in increased p15 and decreased c-myc expression. In a transcription factor array, combination treatment significantly increased activity of AP1 and decreased activity of factors including NFκB, SP1, E2F, and SMAD3. In an in vivo xenograft model of TNBC, individual and combination treatments resulted in a decrease in both tumor volume and mitotic indices. Taken together, these studies highlight the potential of this novel drug combination, CYC065 and eribulin, to suppress the growth of TNBC cells in vitro and in vivo, warranting further clinical investigation.
- Triple negative breast cancer
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