Combination of metformin and phenformin synergistically inhibits proliferation and hTERT expression in human breast cancer cells

Document Type : Original Article


1 Hematology and Oncology Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

2 Department of Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

3 Department of Medical Biotechnology, Faculty of Advanced Medical Sciences, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

4 Stem Cell Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran


Objective(s): Breast cancer remains a global challenge, and further chemopreventive therapies are still immediately required. Emerging evidence has revealed the potent anti-cancer effects of biguanides, Metformin (MET) and phenformin (PHE). Thus, to explore an efficient chemopreventive strategy for breast cancer, the antiproliferative effects of the combination of MET and PHE against breast cancer cells were assessed.
Materials and Methods: Cytotoxicity of the drugs individually and in combination against T47D and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells were assessed using MTT assay and the median-effect method was used to analyze the precise nature of the interaction between MET and PHE. Besides, the expression levels of hTERT after 48 hr drug exposure were determined using qRT-PCR.
Results: Based on the cytotoxicity assay, both MET and PHE further inhibited the growth of MDA-MB-231 cells compared with T47D cells. It was found that MET+PHE reduced the IC50s of MET and PHE in both cells drastically more than the single treatments in a synergistic manner. Importantly, MET+PHE showed higher antiproliferative effect with smaller IC50 values against MDA-MB-231 cells than against T47D cells.
Real-time PCR results revealed that hTERT expression was significantly reduced in both breast cancer cell lines treated with MET+PHE than the single treatments. In comparison between two types of breast cancer cells, it was detected that MET+PHE could further decline hTERT expression in MDA-MB-231cells than in T47D cells (P<0.001).
Conclusion: It is speculated that the combination of MET and PHE may be a promising and convenient approach to improve the efficiency of breast cancer treatment.speculated that the combination of MET and PHE may be a promising and convenient approach to improve the efficiency of breast cancer treatment.
It is speculated that the combination of MET and PHE may be a promising and convenient approach to improve the efficiency of breast cancer treatment.


Main Subjects

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