Background: Breast cancer is one of the most common malignant tumors. Signal transduction and activators of transcription 3 (STAT3) have been demonstrated to play important roles in breast cancer. However, no direct inhibitor of STAT3 has been approved by the FDA for clinical use.
Objective: LL1 is a newly designed STAT3 inhibitor that we identified. In this study, we investigated the cytotoxic effect of LL1 on breast cancer cells and its potential mechanisms.
Methods: Colony formation and CCK-8 assay were used to detect the anti-proliferation of LL1. Flow cytometry was used to evaluate mitochondrial membrane potential and apoptosis in breast cancer cells following the treatment of LL1. The expression of proteins was analyzed using western blot, and the invasion and migration of cells were analyzed by wound healing assay and transwell assay. The xenograft model was used to evaluate the anti-cancer effect of LL1 in vivo.
Results: LL1 selectively inhibited the expression of p-STAT3, but had no obvious effect on total STAT3. LL1 exhibited great potential in suppressing the proliferation of breast cancer in vitro. Moreover, LL1 induces apoptosis and the decrease of mitochondrial membrane potential in breast cancer cells. LL1 can also inhibit the invasion and migration of breast cancer cells. These cell biology changes may be induced via the regulation of Bcl-2, Bax, cleaved-caspase3, Survivn, Mmp-2, Mmp-9, N-cadherin, E-cadherin, vimentin, c-myc and cyclin D1 by LL1. In addition, LL1 exhibited great antitumor activity in vivo.
Conclusion: Our study suggested that LL1 can be considered a promising candidate for the treatment of breast cancer.
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