Affordable Access

Publisher Website

Serotoninergic receptor ligands improve Tamoxifen effectiveness on breast cancer cells

  • Ambrosio, Maria Rosaria
  • Magli, Elisa
  • Caliendo, Giuseppe
  • Sparaco, Rosa
  • Massarelli, Paola
  • D’Esposito, Vittoria
  • Migliaccio, Teresa
  • Mosca, Giusy
  • Fiorino, Ferdinando
  • Formisano, Pietro
Published Article
BMC Cancer
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
Feb 15, 2022
DOI: 10.1186/s12885-021-09147-y
PMID: 35168555
PMCID: PMC8845285
PubMed Central
  • Research


Background Serotonin (or 5-Hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) signals in mammary gland becomes dysregulated in cancer, also contributing to proliferation, metastasis, and angiogenesis. Thus, the discovery of novel compounds targeting serotonin signaling may contribute to tailor new therapeutic strategies usable in combination with endocrine therapies. We have previously synthesized serotoninergic receptor ligands (SER) with high affinity and selectivity towards 5-HT2A and 5-HT2C receptors, the main mediators of mitogenic effect of serotonin in breast cancer (BC). Here, we investigated the effect of 10 SER on viability of MCF7, SKBR3 and MDA-MB231 BC cells and focused on their potential ability to affect Tamoxifen responsiveness in ER+ cells. Methods Cell viability has been assessed by sulforhodamine B assay. Cell cycle has been analyzed by flow cytometry. Gene expression of 5-HT receptors and Connective Tissue Growth Factor (CTGF) has been checked by RT-PCR; mRNA levels of CTGF and ABC transporters have been further measured by qPCR. Protein levels of 5-HT2C receptors have been analyzed by Western blot. All data were statistically analyzed using GraphPad Prism 7. Results We found that treatment with SER for 72 h reduced viability of BC cells. SER were more effective on MCF7 ER+ cells (IC50 range 10.2 μM - 99.2 μM) compared to SKBR3 (IC50 range 43.3 μM - 260 μM) and MDA-MB231 BC cells (IC50 range 91.3 μM - 306 μM). This was paralleled by accumulation of cells in G0/G1 phase of cell cycle. Next, we provided evidence that two ligands, SER79 and SER68, improved the effectiveness of Tamoxifen treatment in MCF7 cells and modulated the expression of CTGF , without affecting viability of MCF10A non-cancer breast epithelial cells. In a cell model of Tamoxifen resistance, SER68 also restored drug effect independently of CTGF. Conclusions These results identified serotoninergic receptor ligands potentially usable in combination with Tamoxifen to improve its effectiveness on ER+ BC patients. Supplementary Information The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1186/s12885-021-09147-y.

Report this publication


Seen <100 times