Toxicology letters

Perfluorooctanoic acid stimulates breast cancer cells invasion and up-regulates matrix metalloproteinase-2/-9 expression mediated by activating NF-κB.

PMID 24960061


Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is widely used because of its stain-resistant and water-repellant properties. This study aimed to explore the molecular mechanisms undergoing the stimulation effects of PFOA on cancer cell invasion and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) expression. Trans-well filter assay showed that PFOA exposure (≥5 nM) evidently enhanced the invasion ability of the breast cancer cells MDA-MB-231. Luciferase reporter assay, quantitative real-time PCR, western blotting and gelatin zymography consistently demonstrated that mRNA and protein levels of MMP-2/-9 were increased in the cells after PFOA treatment (P<0.05 each). Western blotting revealed that PFOA could activate nuclear factor kappaB (NF-κB) by accelerating NF-κB translocation into the nucleus. Furthermore, addition of NF-κB inhibitor in culture medium could suppress the breast cancer cells invasiveness enhancement and MMP-2/-9 overexpression. This study indicates that PFOA can stimulate breast cancer cells invasion and up-regulate matrix metalloproteinase-2/-9 expression mediated by activating NF-κB, which deserves more environmental health concerns.