Selenium modifies the osteoblast inflammatory stress response to bone metastatic breast cancer

Yu Chi Chen, Donna M. Sosnoski, Ujjawal H. Gandhi, Leah J. Novinger, K. Sandeep Prabhu, Andrea M. Mastro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Breast cancer frequently metastasizes to the skeleton resulting in bone degradation due to osteoclast activation. Metastases also downregulate differentiation and the bone-rebuilding function of osteoblasts. Moreover, cancer cells trigger osteoblast inflammatory stress responses. Pro-inflammatory mediators such as interleukin (IL)-6, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), expressed by osteoblasts (MC3T3-E1) stimulated with human breast cancer cell (MDA-MB-231) conditioned medium, are pivotal to osteoclast activation and metastasis. Given that these genes are regulated by nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), a redox-sensitive transcription factor, we hypothesized that selenium (Se) could abrogate the inflammatory response to metastatic breast cancer cells by modulating NF-κB. Caffeic acid phenethyl ester and parthenolide inhibited NF-κB activation, as seen by gel shift assays and immunoblotting for p65 in nuclear fractions, as well as decreased production of IL-6 and MCP-1. Supplementation of MC3T3-E1 with methylseleninic acid (MSA) (0.5 μM to 4 μM) reduced the activation of NF-κB leading to a decrease in IL-6, MCP-1, COX-2 and iNOS in response to MDA-MB-231 conditioned medium. Addition of MSA to osteoblasts for as little as 15 min suppressed activation of NF-κB suggesting that short-lived active metabolites might be involved. However, brief exposure to MSA also brought about an increase in selenoprotein glutathione peroxidase 1. In summary, our data indicate that the osteoblast response to metastatic breast cancer cells is regulated by NF-κB activation, which can be effectively suppressed by MSA either through short-lived active metabolites and/or selenoproteins. Thus, Se supplementation may prevent the osteoblast inflammatory response or dampen the vicious cycle established when breast cancer cells, osteoblasts and osteoclasts interact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1941-1948
Number of pages8
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cancer Research


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