Role of Escin in breast cancer therapy: potential mechanism for inducing ferroptosis and synergistic antitumor activity with cisplatin

  • Impact factors: 5.561
  • Publication: APOPTOSIS
  • Author:Li Chenyuan, He Ziqi, Yao Feng, Liao Shichong, Sun Kai, Sun Shengrong, Li Zhiyu, Wang Zhong
  • DOI citation-doi:10.1007/s10495-023-01849-x
  • Date:2023-05-06

Breast cancer (BC) has threatened women worldwide for a long time, and novel treatments are needed. Ferroptosis is a new form of regulated cell death that is a potential therapeutic target for BC. In this study, we identified Escin, a traditional Chinese medicine, as a possible supplement for existing chemotherapy strategies. Escin inhibited BC cell growth in vitro and in vivo, and ferroptosis is probable to be the main cause for Escin-induced cell death. Mechanistically, Escin significantly downregulated the protein level of GPX4, while overexpression of GPX4 could reverse the ferroptosis triggered by Escin. Further study revealed that Escin could promote G6PD ubiquitination and degradation, thus inhibiting the expression of GPX4 and contributing to the ferroptosis. Moreover, proteasome inhibitor MG132 or G6PD overexpression could partially reverse Escin-induced ferroptosis, when G6PD knockdown aggravated that. In vivo study also supported that downregulation of G6PD exacerbated tumor growth inhibition by Escin. Finally, our data showed that cell apoptosis was dramatically elevated by Escin combined with cisplatin in BC cells. Taken together, these results suggest that Escin inhibits tumor growth in vivo and in vitro via regulating the ferroptosis mediated by G6PD/GPX4 axis. Our findings provide a promising therapeutic strategy for BC.

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