Inhibition of cannabinoid receptor type 1 sensitizes triple-negative breast cancer cells to ferroptosis via regulating fatty acid metabolism

By September 22, 2022No Comments

doi: 10.1038/s41419-022-05242-5.



Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a heterogeneous subtype of breast cancer that displays highly aggressive with poor prognosis. Owing to the limited targets and drugs for TNBC clinical therapy, it is necessary to investigate the factors regulating cancer progression and develop novel therapies for cancer treatment. Ferroptosis, a nonapoptotic form of programmed cell death characterized by accumulation of iron-dependent peroxidation of phospholipids, is regulated by cellular metabolism, redox homeostasis, and various cancer-related signaling pathways. Recently, considerable progress has been made in demonstrating the critical role of lipid metabolism in regulating ferroptosis, indicating potential combinational therapeutic strategies for cancer treatment. In this study, by drug combination screen of lipid metabolism compounds with ferroptosis inducers in decreasing TNBC cell viability, we found potent synergy of the CB1 antagonist rimonabant with erastin/(1 S, 3 R)-RSL3 (RSL3) in inhibiting TNBC cell growth both in vitro and in vivo via promoting the levels of lipid peroxides, malondialdehyde (MDA), 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE) and cytosolic reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, enhancing intracellular glutathione (GSH) depletion and inducing G1 cell cycle arrest. We identified that inhibition of CB1 promoted the effect of erastin/RSL3 on inducing ferroptosis and enhanced their inhibitory effect on tumor growth. Using RNA-Seq, fatty acid analyses and functional assays, we found that CB1 regulated stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 (SCD1)- and fatty acyl desaturase 2 (FADS2)-dependent fatty acid metabolism via phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase (PI3K)-AKT and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathways to modulate ferroptosis sensitivity in TNBC cells. These data demonstrate that dual targeting of CB1 and ferroptosis could be a promising therapeutic strategy for TNBC.


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