PubMed 25623198

Referenced in Channelpedia wiki pages of: none

Automatically associated channels: Nav1 , Nav1.5

Title: The sodium channel-blocking antiepileptic drug phenytoin inhibits breast tumour growth and metastasis.

Authors: Michaela Nelson, Ming Yang, Adam A Dowle, Jerry R Thomas, William J Brackenbury

Journal, date & volume: Mol. Cancer, 2015 , 14, 13

PubMed link:

Voltage-gated Na(+) channels (VGSCs) are heteromeric protein complexes containing pore-forming α subunits and smaller, non-pore-forming β subunits. VGSCs are classically expressed in electrically excitable cells, e.g. neurons. VGSCs are also expressed in tumour cells, including breast cancer (BCa) cells, where they enhance cellular migration and invasion. However, despite extensive work defining in detail the molecular mechanisms underlying the expression of VGSCs and their pro-invasive role in cancer cells, there has been a notable lack of clinically relevant in vivo data exploring their value as potential therapeutic targets.We have previously reported that the VGSC-blocking antiepileptic drug phenytoin inhibits the migration and invasion of metastatic MDA-MB-231 cells in vitro. The purpose of the present study was to establish whether VGSCs might be viable therapeutic targets by testing the effect of phenytoin on tumour growth and metastasis in vivo. We found that expression of Nav1.5, previously detected in MDA-MB-231 cells in vitro, was retained on cells in orthotopic xenografts. Treatment with phenytoin, at a dose equivalent to that used to treat epilepsy (60 mg/kg; daily), significantly reduced tumour growth, without affecting animal weight. Phenytoin also reduced cancer cell proliferation in vivo and invasion into surrounding mammary tissue. Finally, phenytoin significantly reduced metastasis to the liver, lungs and spleen.This is the first study showing that phenytoin reduces breast tumour growth and metastasis in vivo. We propose that pharmacologically targeting VGSCs, by repurposing antiepileptic or antiarrhythmic drugs, should be further studied as a potentially novel anti-cancer therapy.