Chemotherapy has been used for treatment of breast cancer but with limited success. We characterized the effects of bcl-2 antisense and cisplatin combination therapy in two human isogenic breast carcinoma cells p53(+)MCF-7 and p53(-)MCF-7/E6. The transferrin-facilitated lipofection strategy we have developed yielded same transfection efficiency in both cells. Bcl-2 antisense delivered with this strategy significantly induced more cell death, apoptosis, and cytochrome c release in MCF-7/E6 than in MCF-7, but did not affect Fas level in both cells and activated caspase-8 equally. Cisplatin exerted same effects on cell viability and apoptosis in both cells, but released smaller amounts of cytochrome c while activated more caspase-8 in MCF-7/E6. The combination treatment yielded greater effects on cell viability, apoptosis, cytochrome c release, and caspase-8 activation than individual treatments in both cells although p53(-) cells were more sensitive. The potentiated activation of caspase-8 in the combination treatment suggested that caspase-8-mediated (but cytochrome c-independent) apoptotic pathway is the major contributor of the enhanced cell killing. Thus, bcl-2 antisense delivered with transferrin- facilitated lipofection can achieve the efficacy of killing breast cancer cells and sensitizing them to chemotherapy. Bcl-2 antisense and cisplatin combination treatment is a potentially useful therapeutic strategy for breast cancer irrespective of p53 status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)999-1011
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biomedical Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • Apoptosis
  • Bcl-2 antisense
  • Breast cancer
  • Caspase 8
  • Cisplatin
  • Cytochrome c
  • Facilitated lipofection gene delivery strategy
  • Fas
  • Liposome
  • p53

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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