Role of Cytochrome P450 in Breast Carcinogenesis

  • Subir Singh

Student thesis: Phd


Cytochrome P450 enzymes (CYP) are key oxidative enzymes that are crucial in several biological processes, such as metabolism of exogenous and endogenous substances, the biological transformation of drugs and xenobiotics and biosynthesis of steroids and fatty acid. Several CYP have been identified in extra hepatic tissues implying that these enzymes exert other biological functions, which might explain their association with a number of diseases including diabetes, obesity and cancer. Understanding of these functions may provide the platform for the development of new therapeutic approaches and this is the aim of this investigation, namely to delineate the role of CYP in breast carcinogenesis. Cancer cells exhibit high levels of glycolysis even in the presence of high oxygen concentration. Cancer cells have very high proliferating rates so they need more biosynthesis materials like nucleic acids, phospholipids, fatty acids and glycolysis is the main source of biosynthetic precursors. Energy metabolism has recently attracted the interest of several laboratories as targeting the pathways for energy production in cancer cells could be an efficient anticancer treatment. Previous studies have shown that reactive oxygen species (ROS) regulate the energy metabolism in cancer cells. CYP are one of the ROS source. Expression of CYP in extrahepatic implies that these enzymes exert other biological functions which have not yet been elucidated. These findings led us to hypothesise that cytochrome P450 enzymes might be involved in the determination of the pathway of cellular energy metabolism in breast cancer cells and in particular in directing tumour cells to produce energy through glycolysis rather than Oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). To investigate the role of CYP in breast carcinogenesis, we followed the protein levels of CYP1B1, CYP1A1, CYP2E1, CYP2C8, CYP2C9 and CYP3A4 in MCF-7 (Michigan Cancer Foundation-7), T47-D, MDA-MB-231 (MD Anderson series 231 cell line) and MDA-MB-468 (MD Anderson series 468 cell line) breast cancer cells treated with glycolytic inhibitors 3-Bromopyruvate and 2-Deoxyglucose (3BP and 2DG). CYP were differentially expressed in breast cancer cells upon treatment with the glycolytic inhibitors (2DG and 3BP) in breast cancer cell lines bearing different genetic background and migratory capacity. The CYP mediated ROS generation was followed in breast cancer cells overexpressing CYP1B1, CYP2C8, CYP2C9 and CYP2E1 or treated with 3BP, 2DG and CYP1B1 specific inhibitor 2,3',4,5'-Tetramethoxystilbene (TMS) by H2DCFDA (2',7'-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate) staining. The functional significance of the CYP1B1, CYP2C8, CYP2C9, CYP2E1 mediated modulation of the cellular redox state was investigated by recording changes of indicators of biological pathways known to be affected by the cellular redox state such as cell cycle, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) level, lactate level, mitochondrial potential, autophagy and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. Furthermore, the effect of CYP1B1 and CYP2E1 induction by their inducers (Benzopyrene and Acetaminophen respectively) and inhibition by their specific inhibitors (TMS and chlormethiazole (CMZ) respectively) on cell survival was investigated. Migratory potential of breast cancer cells was investigated under the treatment of glycolytic inhibitors, CYP1B1 inducer and inhibitors. The results obtained provide evidence that CYP are potentially involved in the regulation of ROS, cell cycle, ATP level, lactate level, mitochondrial potential, autophagy, ER stress and migratory potential in a manner dependent on the genetic background of the cells and the stage of the breast cancer, supporting the notion that CYP are potential breast cancer biomarkers
Date of Award31 Dec 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorJeffrey Penny (Supervisor) & Costas Demonacos (Supervisor)


  • Cytochrome P450, Autophagy, ER stress, glycolytic inhibitor, ROS

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