Marialuisa Piccolo 1 , Gabriella Misso 2 , Maria Grazia Ferraro 1 , Claudia Riccardi 3 , Antonella Capuozzo 1 , Mayra Rachele Zarone 2 , Francesco Maione 1 , Marco Trifuoggi 3 , Paola Stiuso 2 , Gerardino D’Errico 3 , 4 , Michele Caraglia 2 , Luigi Paduano , 3 , 4 , Daniela Montesarchio , 3 , Carlo Irace , 1 , Rita Santamaria 1
7 May 2019
According to WHO, breast cancer incidence is increasing so that the search for novel chemotherapeutic options is nowadays an essential requirement to fight neoplasm subtypes. By exploring new effective metal-based chemotherapeutic strategies, many ruthenium complexes have been recently proposed as antitumour drugs, showing ability to impact on diverse cellular targets. In the framework of different molecular pathways leading to cell death in human models of breast cancer, here we demonstrate autophagy involvement behind the antiproliferative action of a ruthenium(III)-complex incorporated into a cationic nanosystem (HoThyRu/DOTAP), proved to be hitherto one of the most effective within the suite of nucleolipidic formulations we have developed for the in vivo transport of anticancer ruthenium(III)-based drugs. Indeed, evidences are implicating autophagy in both cancer development and therapy, and anticancer interventions endowed with the ability to trigger this biological response are currently considered attractive oncotherapeutic approaches. Moreover, crosstalk between apoptosis and autophagy, regulated by finely tuned metallo-chemotherapeutics, may provide novel opportunities for future improvement of cancer treatment. Following this line, our in vitro and in vivo preclinical investigations suggest that an original strategy based on suitable formulations of ruthenium(III)-complexes, inducing sustained cell death, could open new opportunities for breast cancer treatment, including the highly aggressive triple-negative subtype.