Int J Biol Sci 2019; 15(7):1358-1367. doi:10.7150/ijbs.27360

Research Paper

Huaier polysaccharide inhibits the stem-like characteristics of ERα-36high triple negative breast cancer cells via inactivation of the ERα-36 signaling pathway

Baoquan Hu, Wenting Yan, Minghao Wang, Xiang Cui, Ying Hu, Qingqiu Chen, Yi Zhang, Xiaowei Qi, Jun Jiang

Breast Disease Center, Southwest Hospital, Army Medical University (Third Military Medical University), Chongqing 400038, China

Abstract

Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a highly aggressive cancer and lack of targeting therapies. It is believed that the breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs) are responsible for the aggressive characteristics of TNBC. Hence, developing BCSC-targeting agents may provide new therapeutic strategies for the patients. Huaier polysaccharide (HP), an active ingredient extracted from the mushroom Trametes robiniophila Murr, has been widely used in clinical anti-cancer treatments in China. Here we demonstrated that HP could target BCSCs in TNBC cells, resulting in decreased mammosphere formation, downregulated expression of stem-related genes and reduced proportion of aldehyde dehydrogenase positive cells in vitro, and inhibited xenograft tumor formation in vivo. Mechanically, HP markedly reduced the expression of estrogen receptor α-36 (ERα-36), a recently identified subtype of estrogen receptor α, and attenuated ERα-36-mediated activation of AKT/β-catenin signaling in ERα-36high TNBC cells. This study provides a new insight into the mechanism of HP on BCSC-targeting therapy and new ideas for comprehensive treatment strategies for TNBC.

Keywords: Huaier, ERα-36, Triple negative breast cancer, Cancer stem cells

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How to cite this article:
Hu B, Yan W, Wang M, Cui X, Hu Y, Chen Q, Zhang Y, Qi X, Jiang J. Huaier polysaccharide inhibits the stem-like characteristics of ERα-36high triple negative breast cancer cells via inactivation of the ERα-36 signaling pathway. Int J Biol Sci 2019; 15(7):1358-1367. doi:10.7150/ijbs.27360. Available from http://www.ijbs.com/v15p1358.htm