Biomarkers of Breast Cancer Apoptosis Induced by Chemotherapy and TRAIL

Treatment of breast cancer is complex and challenging due to the heterogeneity of the disease. To avoid significant toxicity and adverse side-effects of chemotherapy in patients who respond poorly, biomarkers predicting therapeutic response are essential. This study has utilized a proteomic approach integrating 2D-DIGE, LC–MS/MS, and bioinformatics to analyze the proteome of breast cancer (ZR-75-1 and MDA-MB-231) and breast epithelial (MCF-10A) cell lines induced to undergo apoptosis using a combination of doxorubicin and TRAIL administered in sequence (Dox-TRAIL). Apoptosis induction was confirmed using a caspase-3 activity assay. Comparative proteomic analysis between whole cell lysates of Dox-TRAIL and control samples revealed 56 differentially expressed spots (≥2-fold change and p < 0.05) common to at least two cell lines. Of these, 19 proteins were identified yielding 11 unique protein identities: CFL1, EIF5A, HNRNPK, KRT8, KRT18, LMNA, MYH9, NACA, RPLP0, RPLP2, and RAD23B. A subset of the identified proteins was validated by selected reaction monitoring (SRM) and Western blotting. Pathway analysis revealed that the differentially abundant proteins were associated with cell death, cellular organization, integrin-linked kinase signaling, and actin cytoskeleton signaling pathways. The 2D-DIGE analysis has yielded candidate biomarkers of response to treatment in breast cancer cell models. Their clinical utility will depend on validation using patient breast biopsies pre- and post-treatment with anticancer drugs.