Crosstalk between aldehyde dehydrogenase-1 and chemoresistance in breast cancer: Insights into the role of vitamin D3

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© 2020 Elsevier Inc. Aims: Aldehyde dehydrogenase-1 (ALDH-1) is considered a signature of breast cancer stem cells and is linked to poor outcomes in breast cancer patients. This study aimed at investigating the effect of vitamin D3 on enhancing the tumor responsiveness to different conventional chemotherapeutic agents, viz., cisplatin, methotrexate, and doxorubicin. Main methods: In vitro and in vivo experiments were performed using combinations of vitamin D3 and chemotherapeutic agents. Cell cycle analysis and apoptosis assays were performed. Moreover, ALDH-1 expression levels were estimated in cancer cell lines and solid tumors. For solid tumors, tumor volume and histopathological necrotic indices were estimated. Leukocyte presence was also evaluated in tumors using leukocyte common antigen (LCA). Key findings: Results showed a synergistic interaction between vitamin D3 and each of the chemotherapeutic agents on breast cancer cell lines as well as cell cycle arrest at G2/M phase. A decrease in ALDH-1 levels was reported in both breast cancer cells and in tumor tissues. Reductions in tumor volume were also observed in the groups which received the combination therapy. An influence on necrosis rather than apoptosis was also reported, as evidenced by necrotic indices and Bcl-2 expression in tumor sections, respectively. Increased local leukocytes in tumors was also evident, as indicated by increased expression of leukocyte common antigen (LCA). Significance: Overall, the present study shows that vitamin D3 has an impact on resistance to different chemotherapeutic agents which could be due to the inhibition of ALDH-1, suggesting its use as an adjuvant therapy in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.

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