Melatonin and vitamin D3 synergistically down-regulate Akt and MDM2 leading to TGFβ-1-dependent growth inhibition of breast cancer cells

Published on Wednesday, 19 February 2014


Melatonin and vitamin D3 inhibit breast cancer cell growth and induce apoptosis, but they have never been combined as a breast cancer treatment.

Therefore, we investigated whether their association could lead to an enhanced anticancer activity. In MCF-7 breast cancer cells, melatonin together with vitamin D3, induced a synergistic proliferative inhibition, with an almost complete cell growth arrest at 144 hr.

Cell growth blockade is associated to an activation of the TGFβ-1 pathway, leading to increased TGFβ-1, Smad4 and phosphorylated-Smad3 levels.

Concomitantly, melatonin and D3, alone or in combination, caused a significant reduction in Akt phosphorylation and MDM2 values, with a consequent increase of p53/MDM2 ratio. These effects were completely suppressed by adding a monoclonal anti-TGFβ-1 antibody to the culture medium.

Taken together, these results indicate that cytostatic effects triggered by melatonin and D3 are likely related to a complex TGFβ-1-dependent mechanism, involving down-regulation of both MDM2 and Akt-phosphorylation.



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