Geranylgeranylacetone blocks doxorubicin-induced cardiac toxicity and reduces cancer cell growth and invasion through RHO pathway inhibition

Polina Sysa-Shah, Yi Xu, Xin Guo, Scott Pin, Djahida Bedja, Rachel Bartock, Allison Tsao, Angela Hsieh, Michael S. Wolin, An Moens, Venu Raman, Hajime Orita, Kathleen L. Gabrielson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Doxorubicin is a widely used chemotherapy for solid tumors and hematologic malignancies, but its use is limited due to cardiotoxicity. Geranylgeranylacetone (GGA), an antiulcer agent used in Japan for 30 years, has no significant adverse effects, and unexpectedly reduces ovarian cancer progression in mice. Because GGA reduces oxidative stress in brain and heart, we hypothesized that GGA would prevent oxidative stress of doxorubicin cardiac toxicity and improve doxorubicin's chemotherapeutic effects. Nude mice implanted with MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells were studied after chronic treatment with doxorubicin, doxorubicin/GGA, GGA, or saline. Transthoracic echocardiography was used to monitor systolic heart function and xenografts evaluated. Mice were euthanized and cardiac tissue evaluated for reactive oxygen species generation, TUNEL assay, and RHO/ROCK pathway analysis. Tumor metastases were evaluated in lung sections. In vitro studies using Boyden chambers were performed to evaluate GGA effects on RHO pathway activator lysophosphatidic acid (LPA)-induced motility and invasion. We found that GGA reduced doxorubicin cardiac toxicity, preserved cardiac function, prevented TUNEL-positive cardiac cell death, and reduced doxorubicin-induced oxidant production in a nitric oxide synthase-dependent and independent manner. GGA also reduced heart doxorubicin-induced ROCK1 cleavage. Remarkably, in xenograft-implanted mice, combined GGA/doxorubicin treatment decreased tumor growth more effectively than doxorubicin treatment alone. As evidence of antitumor effect, GGA inhibited LPA-induced motility and invasion by MDA-MB-231 cells. These anti-invasive effects of GGA were suppressed by geranylgeraniol suggesting GGA inhibits RHO pathway through blocking geranylation. Thus, GGA protects the heart from doxorubicin chemotherapy-induced injury and improves anticancer efficacy of doxorubicin in breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1717-1728
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular cancer therapeutics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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