We previously reported that in highly metastatic breast cancer cells, doxorubicin (DOX) at non-toxic concentrations promoted cell migration and invasion. Hesperidin (30, 5, 9-dihydroxy-40-methoxy-7-orutinosyl flavanone) is a flavonoid glycoside isolated from citrus/lemon plant that possesses a cytotoxic effect in several cancer cells. In this study, we investigate whether DOX efficacy is enhanced by hesperidin (Hsd) and the molecular pathway involved in highly metastatic breast cancer, 4T1.
Combined cytotoxicity of Hsd and DOX was evaluated with MTT assay and was analyzed using Chou-Talalay’s method. To better understand the underlying mechanism, several factors, including apoptosis and cell cycle arrest were analyzed by flow cytometry. In addition, antimigration activity was evaluated by scratch wound healing assay, MMP-9 expression by ELISA and gelatin zymography, and Rac-1 protein level using western blot. The data on survival rate and expression level of MMP-9 and Rac-1 were obtained from Gene Expression OMNIBUS (GEO).
Under MTT assay, Hsd showed a cytotoxic effect in a concentration-dependent manner with an IC50 value of 284 µM on 4T1 cells. Hsd synergistically enhanced the cytotoxic effect of DOX which seemed to correlate with an increase in apoptotic cell death, G2/M cell cycle arrest and blocked the migration of 4T1 cells. At 10 nM, doxorubicin induced lamellipodia formation, and increased the level of Rac-1 and metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) expression. Interestingly, combined treatment of DOX and Hsd dramatically downregulated the expression of MMP-9 and Rac-1. These results indicated that Hsd block the cell migration induced by DOX under in vitro studies.
These findings strongly suggest that Hsd possesses a potential synergistic effect that can be developed to enhance the anticancer efficacy of DOX and reduce the risks of chemotherapy use in highly metastatic breast cancer.

© 2023. The Author(s).