Knockdown of ROS1 gene sensitizes breast tumor growth to doxorubicin in a syngeneic mouse model

Snigdha Tiash, Ming Jang Chua, Ezharul Hoque Chowdhury

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Treatment of breast cancer, the second leading cause of female deaths worldwide, with classical drugs is often accompanied by treatment failure and relapse of disease condition. Development of chemoresistance and drug toxicity compels compromising the drug concentration below the threshold level with the consequence of therapeutic inefficacy. Moreover, amplification and over-activation of proto-oncogenes in tumor cells make the treatment more challenging. The oncogene, ROS1 which is highly expressed in diverse types of cancers including breast carcinoma, functions as a survival protein aiding cancer progression. Thus we speculated that selective silencing of ROS1 gene by carrier-mediated delivery of siRNA might sensitize the cancer cells to the classical drugs at a relatively low concentration. In this investigation we showed that intracellular delivery of c-ROS1-targeting siRNA using pH-sensitive inorganic nanoparticles of carbonate apatite sensitizes mouse breast cancer cells (4T1) to doxorubicin, but not to cisplatin or paclitaxel, with the highest enhancement in chemosensitivity obtained at 40 nM of the drug concentration. Although intravenous administrations of ROS1-loaded nanoparticles reduced growth of the tumor, a further substantial effect on growth retardation was noted when the mice were treated with the siRNA- and Dox-bound particles, thus suggesting that silencing of ROS1 gene could sensitize the mouse breast cancer cells both in vitro and in vivo to doxorubicin as a result of synergistic effect of the gene knockdown and the drug action, eventually preventing activation of the survival pathway protein, AKT1. Our findings therefore provide valuable insight into the potential cross-talk between the pathways of ROS1 and doxorubicin for future development of effective therapeutics for breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2359-2366
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Oncology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016


  • Breast cancer
  • Carbonate apatite nanoparticle
  • Cisplatin
  • Doxorubicin
  • Paclitaxel
  • ROS1
  • SiRNA
  • Tumor regression

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