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Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM

Yiqi formula enhances the antitumor effects of erlotinib for treatment of triple-negative breast cancer xenografts.


PMID 25389442

Abstract

Yiqi formula (YF), a traditional herbal prescription, has long been used to treat triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients. The present study aims to investigate the effects and the related mechanism of YF for treatment of TNBC xenografts. MDA-MB-231 (human TNBC) cells were subcutaneously injected into the second mammary fat pad of 40 female nude mice, which were divided into four groups: control, erlotinib (an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitor), YF, and combination (YF plus erlotinib). All treatments were administered orally for 30 days. Inhibition rate of tumor weight by erlotinib, YF, and the combination was 26.47%, 17.24%, and 39.15%, respectively. Western blotting showed that YF, erlotinib, and the combination downregulated p-EGFR (P < 0.01) and p-Akt1 (pT308) (P < 0.05) and upregulated PTEN compared with control, and the combination was more efficacious than erlotinib alone (P < 0.05). Similar results were detected by immunohistochemistry. Real-time quantitative PCR showed that YF, erlotinib, and the combination increased PTEN mRNA (P < 0.05, P < 0.01) compared with control, and the combination was more efficacious than erlotinib alone (P < 0.05). In conclusion, YF can regulate the main components of the PI3K/Akt pathway in TNBC xenografts. When YF was used in combination with erlotinib, it enhanced the antitumor effects of erlotinib on TNBC xenografts. These findings suggest that YF is suitable to use for the treatment of TNBC patients.