Effects of administered cardioprotective drugs on treatment response of breast cancer cells

Timothy A. D. Smith, Su M. Phyu, Emmanuel U. Akabuogu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Anticancer drug treatment, particularly with anthracyclines, is frequently associated with cardiotoxicity, an effect exacerbated by trastuzumab. Several compounds are in use clinically to attenuate the cardiac-damaging effects of chemotherapy drugs, including angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, beta-blockers, the anti-diabetic drug metformin, and dexrazoxane. However, there is concern that the cardiac-preserving mechanisms of these drugs may also limit the anticancer efficacy of the chemotherapeutic agents. Materials and Methods: Herein two breast cancer cell lines, SKBr3 and BT474, overexpressing human epithelial receptor 2 (HER2), the target of the humanised antibody trastuzumab, were treated with a range of concentrations (20-2000 nM) of doxorubicin with and without trastuzumab in the presence of clinically relevant doses of the ACE inhibitor enalapril, the beta-blocker carvedilol, metformin or dexrazoxane, and cell survival determined using the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay. Results: None of the drugs reduced the anticancer effect of doxorubicin or trastuzumab (nor of the two drugs combined). Using Chou and Talalay's combination index, dexrazoxane and doxorubicin were found to act synergistically on the SKBr3 cells. 18F-Fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (18F-FDG) incorporation was reduced by treatment of SKBr3 cells with doxorubicin and this was shown to be due to reduced phosphorylation of 18F-FDG in doxorubicin-treated cells. Treatment of SKBr3 cells with doxorubicin and dexrazoxane further reduced 18F-FDG incorporation, indicating that the synergy in the cytotoxicity of these two drugs was reflected in their combined effect on 18F-FDG incorporation. Conclusion: Commonly administered cardioprotective drugs do not interfere with anticancer activity of doxorubicin or tratsuzumab. Further studies to establish the effect of cardioprotective drugs on anticancer drug efficacy would be beneficial.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-93
Number of pages7
JournalAnticancer Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by Friends of Anchor, Grampian NHS Endowment and the University of Aberdeen.


  • Doxorubicin
  • trastuzumab
  • enalapril
  • metformin
  • dexrazoxane
  • 18F-FDG
  • combination index


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