Combined use of arginase and dichloroacetate exhibits anti-proliferative effects in triple negative breast cancer cells

Angela Verma, Yau Min Lam, Yun Chung Leung, Xiaohui Hu, Xin Chen, Edwin Cheung, Kin Yip Tam

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Drug combination in cancer therapy aims to achieve synergistic therapeutic effect, reduced drug dosage, reduced drug toxicity and minimizes or delays the induction of drug resistance. In the present study, we investigated the anticancer effects of the combination of two metabolic modulators, dichloroacetate (DCA) and bacillus caldovelox arginase (BCA) (or pegyated human arginase (HA)). Methods: The combination treatments were evaluated in MCF-7 and MDA-MB 231 cells as well as in MDA-MB 231 breast cancer xenograft model. Key findings: Dichloroacetate and BCA combination exhibited anti-proliferative effects on MCF-7 cells, which were found to be synergistic. Analysis of the gene expression upon drug treatments revealed that the synergistic anti-proliferative effect on MCF-7 cells was possibly in part due to the activation of the p53 pathway. A similar synergistic anti-proliferative effect was observed in the combined use of DCA and HA on MCF-7 and MDA-MB231 cells, which was due to induction of cell cycle arrest at G2/M phase. Moreover, the combination enhanced anti-tumour activity in a MDA-MB 231 xenograft mouse model. Conclusions: Our results suggested that dichloroacetate and arginase combination exhibited enhanced anti-cancer effects in preclinical breast cancer models which may offer an additional treatment option for breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-315
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • Bacillus caldovelox arginase
  • breast cancer
  • dichloroacetate
  • drug combination
  • pegyated human arginase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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