Tumor Biology

, Volume 37, Issue 5, pp 6701–6708 | Cite as

Anticancer effects of tributyltin chloride and triphenyltin chloride in human breast cancer cell lines MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231

  • Luba Hunakova
  • D. Macejova
  • L. Toporova
  • J. Brtko
Original Article


Triorganotin compounds induce hormonal alterations, i.e., endocrine-disrupting effects in mammals, including humans. Tributyltin chloride (TBT-Cl) and triphenyltin chloride (TPT-Cl) are known to function as nuclear retinoid X receptor (RXR) agonists. Their cytotoxic effects in ER(+) luminal human breast cancer cell line MCF-7 and ER(−) basal-like human breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231 were examined. We observed significantly higher toxicity of TBT-Cl in comparison with TPT-Cl in both cell lines. Comparable apoptosis-inducing concentrations were 200 and 800 nM, respectively, as shown by PARP cleavage and FDA staining. Both compounds activated executive caspases in the concentration-dependent manner in MDA-MB-231 cells, but the onset of TPT-Cl-induced caspase-3/7 activation was delayed in comparison with TBT-Cl. Both compounds slowed down the migration of these highly invasive cells, which was accompanied by RARbeta upregulation. Other RAR and RXR expressions were differentially modulated by studied organotins in both cell lines.


Triorgatonins Cytotoxicity Migration Human breast carcinoma cells All-trans retinoic acid receptor Retinoid X receptor 



Bovine serum albumin




Estrogen receptor


Fluorescein diacetate


Fetal calf serum


Fluorescein isothiocyanate


Estrogen receptor-negative human breast cancer cell line


Estrogen receptor-positive human breast cancer cell line


3-A4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide




Phosphate-buffered saline


Propidium iodide


Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor


All-trans retinoic acid receptor


Ribosomal protein S18


Retinoid X receptor




Tributyltin chloride


Triphenyltin chloride



This work was supported by APVV-0160-11, VEGA 2/0171/14, VEGA 2/0080/15, and VEGA 02/0092/16 grants. The authors thank Ms. Margita Sulikova for excellent technical assistance.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luba Hunakova
    • 1
  • D. Macejova
    • 2
  • L. Toporova
    • 2
  • J. Brtko
    • 2
  1. 1.Cancer Research InstituteSlovak Academy of SciencesBratislavaSlovakia
  2. 2.Laboratory of Molecular Endocrinology, Institute of Experimental EndocrinologySlovak Academy of SciencesBratislavaSlovakia

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