Background: ROCK-1 expression is associated with the malignant character of tumors, while
inhibiting this molecule results in a significant suppression of tumor metastasis. Likewise, transforming growth
factor beta (TGF-β) is associated with this malignancy by having the ability to induce epithelial-mesenchymal
transition (EMT). Metformin, a drug used in the treatment of diabetes, has previously been shown to inhibit EMT
in breast cancer cells.
Objective: The aim of this study is to evaluate the TGF-β1 action model for induction of EMT and the action of
metformin and ROCK-1 inhibitor (Y27632) in EMT process in breast cancer cell lines.
Method: MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cell lines were treated with metformin and Y27632, after induction of EMT
by TGF-β1, to examine the effects on cell migration as well as the protein expression of the ROCK-1 markers,
vimentin, E-cadherin, CD44 and CD24 by immunocitochemistry.
Results: There was a lower protein expression of ROCK-1, vimentin, CD44 and CD24 in both cell lines after
treatment with metformin and Y27632. In MDA-MB-231 cells, E-cadherin expression was increased in all
treatment groups. Treatment of MDA-MB-231 cell line with metformin and Y27632 significantly reduced the
invasion of these cells.
Conclusion: This study confirms the benefits of metformin and Y27632 as potential therapeutic agents in
mammary tumors, by blocking EMT process and metastatic potential.