Assessment of the TRPM8 inhibitor AMTB in breast cancer cells and its identification as an inhibitor of voltage gated sodium channels

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To assess levels of the calcium permeable transient receptor potential cation channel, subfamily melastatin, member 8 (TRPM8) in breast cancer molecular subtypes and to assess the consequences of TRPM8 pharmacological inhibition with AMTB (an inhibitor of TRPM8) on breast cancer cell lines.

Materials and methods

Cell viability and migration of breast cancer cells was determined using MTS assays and wound healing assays, respectively. RNA-Seq analysis of breast tumours and qPCR in breast cancer cell lines were used to assess mRNA levels of ion channels. Membrane potential assays were employed to assess the effects of AMTB against specific voltage gated sodium channels (NaV).

Key findings

TRPM8 levels were significantly higher in breast cancers of the basal molecular subtype. AMTB decreased viable cell number in MDA-MB-231 and SK-BR-3 breast cancer cell lines (30 and 100 μM), and also reduced the migration of MDA-MB-231 cells (30 μM). However, these effects were independent of TRPM8, as no TRPM8 mRNA was detected in MDA-MB-231 cells. AMTB was identified as an inhibitor of NaV isoforms. NaV1.1–1.9 were expressed in a number of breast cancer cell lines, with NaV1.5 mRNA highest in MDA-MB-231 cells compared to the other breast cancer cell lines assessed.


TRPM8 levels may be elevated in basal breast cancers, however, TRPM8 expression appears to be lost in many breast cancer cell lines. Some of the effects of AMTB attributed to TRPM8 may be due to effects on NaV channels.

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