Complementarity between Microbiome and Immunity May Account for the Potentiating Effect of Quercetin on the Antitumor Action of Cyclophosphamide in a Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Model

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Immunotherapy targeting program cell death protein 1 (PD-1) in addition to chemotherapy has improved the survival of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients. However, the development of resistance and toxicity remain significant problems. Using the translationally relevant 4T1 mouse model of TNBC, we report here that dietary administration of the phytochemical quercetin enhanced the antitumor action of Cyclophosphamide, a cytotoxic drug with significant immunogenic effects that is part of the combination chemotherapy used in TNBC. We observed that quercetin favorably modified the host fecal microbiome by enriching species such as Akkermansia muciniphilia, which has been shown to improve response to anti-PD-1 therapy. We also show that quercetin and, to a greater extent, Cyclophosphamide increased the systemic frequency of T cells and NK cells. In addition, Cyclophosphamide alone and in combination with quercetin reduced the frequency of Treg, which is consistent with an antitumor immune response. On the other hand, Cyclophosphamide did not significantly alter the host microbiome, suggesting complementarity between microbiome- and immune-mediated mechanisms in potentiating the antitumor action of Cyclophosphamide by quercetin. Overall, these results support the potential for microbiota-centered dietary intervention to overcome resistance to chemoimmunotherapy in TNBC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1422
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery

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