1. Department of Microbiology and Immunology, New York Medical College, Valhalla, New York, United States of America
2. Division of Natural Sciences, College of Mount Saint Vincent, Bronx. New York, United States of America
Angiogenesis, a highly regulated process, is exploited by tumors like breast cancer to ensure a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients and is key for tumor survival and progression. Estrogen and alcohol independently have been observed to contribute to angiogenesis in breast cancer but their combinatorial effects have never been evaluated. The exact mechanism by which estrogen and alcohol contribute to breast cancer angiogenesis remains to be elucidated. In this study, we defined the in vitro effects of the combination of estrogen and alcohol in breast cancer angiogenesis using the tubulogenesis and scratch wound assays. Conditioned media, generated by culturing the murine mammary cancer cell line, TG1-1, in estrogen and ethanol, enhanced tubule formation and migration as well as modulated the MAP Kinase pathway in the murine endothelial cell line, SVEC4-10. Additionally, estrogen and ethanol in combination enhanced the expression of the pro-angiogenic factors VEGF, MMP-9, and eNOS, and modulated Akt activation. These observations suggest that TG1-1 cells secrete pro-angiogenic molecules in response to the combination of estrogen and ethanol that modulate the morphological and migratory properties of endothelial cells. The data presented in this study, is the first in attempting to link the cooperative activity between estrogen and ethanol in breast cancer progression, underscoring correlations first made by epidemiological observations linking the two.
Keywords: breast cancer, angiogenesis, estrogen, alcohol, ethanol