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Doxorubicin–paclitaxel sequential treatment: insights of DNA methylation and gene expression changes of luminal A and triple negative breast cancer cell lines

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Breast cancer is one of the significant causes of death among women diagnosed with cancer worldwide. Even though several chemotherapy combinations are still the primary treatment of breast cancer, unsuccessful treatments, and poor prognostic outcomes are still being reported. DNA methylation and gene expression changes among two breast cancer cell lines representing luminal A (MCF-7) and triple-negative (MDA-MB-231) cancers were determined after sequential combination treatment of doxorubicin and paclitaxel and analyzed using Ingenuity Pathway Analysis. Promoter methylation changes were seen in different treated MCF-7 cells and accompanied by changes in the gene expression of CCNA1 and PTGS2. In MDA-MB-231 cells, the hypomethylation of ESR1 was not accompanied by an increase in its gene expression in any treated cells. The hypomethylation of GSTP1 and MGMT was accompanied by an increase in gene expression levels in the group treated with doxorubicin only. Also, significant downregulation of several genes like MUC1 and MKI67 in MCF-7 cells treated with doxorubicin showed much lower gene expression (− 37.63, − 10.88 folds) when compared with cells treated with paclitaxel (− 2.47, − 2.05 folds) or the combination treatment (− 18.99, − 2.81 folds), respectively. On the other hand, a synergistic effect on MMP9 gene expression was significantly seen in MDA-MB-231 cells treated with the combination (− 9.99 folds) in comparison with the cells treated with doxorubicin (− 3.62 folds) or paclitaxel (1.75 folds) alone. Chemotherapy combinations do not always augment the molecular changes seen in each drug alone, and these changes could be utilized as treatment response markers.

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This project was funded by the Scientific Research Fund/Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Jordan (MPH/1/20/2017) and Al-Zaytoonah University of Jordan (2019-2018/18/06).

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Correspondence to Lama Hamadneh.

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Hamadneh, L., Abu-Irmaileh, B., Al-Majawleh, M. et al. Doxorubicin–paclitaxel sequential treatment: insights of DNA methylation and gene expression changes of luminal A and triple negative breast cancer cell lines. Mol Cell Biochem 476, 3647–3654 (2021).

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