Triple-negative breast cancer is a highly heterogeneous and aggressive subtype of breast cancer. Epigenetic drugs are continuing to emerge as promising therapies for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). These drugs, including the one used in this study, vorinostat, a histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDAC), are capable of multiple actions and are considered multifunctional drugs. Epigenetic mechanisms have been shown to play a role in the etiology of this cancer, through modulation of DNA methylation, histone modification or microRNAs. We have shown in this study that vorinostat and indole-3-carbinol (I3C) modulated the expression of microRNAs 221 and 222 differently in basal-like-2 (BL2), MSL, basal-like1 (BL1) and M subtypes of TNBC cells. Additional studies demonstrated that combination of tamoxifen and vorinostat significantly decreased expression of miRNA 221 in TNBC cell lines. MiRNAs are short noncoding RNAs that regulate the function of target genes post-transcriptionally. In addition, breast cancer microarrays further showed modulation of a number of other miRNAs that play a role in cell proliferation, drug resistance, cell invasion and metastasis. MicroRNAs are epigenetic targets for drug development. Using a global HDAC activity assay, it was also shown that subtypes of TNBC cells respond differently to vorinostat and I3C treatment, depending on their HDAC activity. HCC70, an African American cell line and a BL2 subtype, had the highest HDAC activity and its activity was significantly decreased by vorinostat treatment compared to BT549 (M), HCC 1806 (BL2), MCF7 (ER positive) and a basal nonmalignant cell line, MCF10A. Both vorinostat and I3C show great promise alone and in combination as effective agents in triple-negative breast cancer. Histone deacetylase inhibitors and dietary agents are emerging as therapy for triple-negative breast cancer and are currently in clinical trials.

Citation Format: Beverly Lyn-Cook, Fatemeh NouriEmamzaden, Anfernee Hawkins, George Hammons, Beverly Word. Vorinostat and indole-3-carbinol modulate microRNAs and histone deacetylase activity in subtypes of triple-negative breast cancer [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2018; 2018 Apr 14-18; Chicago, IL. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2018;78(13 Suppl):Abstract nr 5800.