Lipoprotein-associated alpha-tocopheryl-succinate inhibits cell growth and induces apoptosis in human MCF-7 and HBL-100 breast cancer cells

Published on Monday, 30 June 2014


alpha-Tocopheryl succinate (alpha-TS) is a potent inhibitor of tumor cell proliferation. The goal of the present study was to investigate whether and to what extent alpha-TS associates with plasma lipoproteins and if alpha-TS-enriched lipoproteins inhibit breast cancer cell growth in a manner comparable to the free drug.

In vitro enrichment of human plasma revealed that alpha-TS readily associated with the main lipoprotein classes, findings confirmed in vivo in mice. At the highest alpha-TS concentrations, lipoproteins carrying 50000 (VLDL), 5000 (LDL) and 700 (HDL) alpha-TS molecules per lipoprotein particle were generated. alpha-TS enrichment generated lipoprotein particles with slightly decreased density and increased particle radius.

To study whether the level of LDL-receptor (LDL-R) expression affects alpha-TS uptake from apoB/E containing lipoprotein particles human breast cancer cells with low (MCF-7) and normal (HBL-100) LDL-R expression were used. The uptake of free, VLDL- and (apoE-free) HDL(3)-associated alpha-TS was nearly identical for both cell lines.

In contrast, uptake of LDL-associated alpha-TS by HBL-100 cells (normal LDL-R expression) was about twice as high as compared to MCF-7 cells (low LDL-R expression). VLDL and LDL-associated alpha-TS inhibited proliferation most effectively at the highest concentration of alpha-TS used (100% inhibition of MCF-7 growth with 20 microg/ml of lipoprotein-associated alpha-TS). However, also alpha-TS-free VLDL and LDL inhibited HBL-100 cell proliferation up to 55%.

In both cell lines, alpha-TS-enriched HDL(3) inhibited cell growth by 40-60%. Incubation of both cell lines in the presence of free or lipoprotein-associated alpha-TS resulted in DNA fragmentation indicative of apoptosis.

Collectively, the present findings demonstrate that: (1) alpha-TS readily associates with lipoproteins in vitro and in vivo; (2) the lipoprotein-enrichment efficacy was dependent on the particle size and/or the triglyceride content of the lipoprotein; (3) uptake of LDL-associated alpha-TS was apparently dependent on the level of LDL-R expression; and (4) lipoproteins were efficient alpha-TS carriers inducing reduced cell proliferation rates and apoptosis in human breast cancer cells as observed for the free drug.



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