Valproic acid reprograms the metabolic aberration of cisplatin treatment via ALDH modulation in triple-negative breast cancer cells

Avital Granit Mizrahi, Ahinoam Gugenheim, Haneen Hamad, Roa’a Hamed, Nino Tetro, Ofra Maimon, Salome Khutsurauli, Hovav Nechushtan, Benjamin Nisman, Deborah Duran, Widad Samman, Liron Birimberg-Schwartz, Myriam Grunewald, Sara Eyal*, Tamar Peretz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We recently demonstrated that the histone deacetylase inhibitor valproic acid (VPA) reprograms the cisplatin-induced metabolome of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) cells, including a shift in hexose levels. Accordingly, here, we tested the hypothesis that VPA alters glucose metabolism in correlation with cisplatin sensitivity. Two TNBC cell lines, MDA-MB-231 (a cisplatin-resistant line) and MDA-MB-436 (a cisplatin-sensitive line), were analyzed. The glycolysis and oxidative metabolism were measured using the Glycolysis Stress Test kit. The expression of aldehyde dehydrogenases (ALDHs), enzymes linked to drug resistance, was investigated by Western blot and real-time PCR analyses. We additionally studied the influence of ALDH inhibition by disulfiram on the viability of MDA-MB-231 cells and on a TNBC patient-derived organoid system. Cisplatin treatment reduced the extracellular acidification rate in MDA-MB-436 cells but not MDA-MB-231 cells, whereas VPA addition increased the extracellular acidification rate in both cell lines. VPA further reduced the oxygen consumption rate of cisplatin-treated MDA-MB-436 cells, which correlated with cell cycle alterations. However, in MDA-MB-231 cells, the cell cycle distribution did not change between cisplatin/VPA–cisplatin treatments. In both cell lines, VPA increased the expression of ALDH isoform and ALDH1A1 expression. However, only in MDA-MB-231 cells, VPA synergized with cisplatin to augment this effect. Disulfiram sensitized the cells to the cytotoxic effects of the VPA–cisplatin combination. Furthermore, the disulfiram–VPA–chemotherapy combination was most effective in TNBC organoids. Our results show that ALDH overexpression may act as one mechanism of cellular resistance to VPA in TNBC and that its inhibition may enhance the therapeutic efficacy of VPA–chemotherapeutic drug combinations.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number1217149
JournalFrontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2023 Granit Mizrahi, Gugenheim, Hamad, Hamed, Tetro, Maimon, Khutsurauli, Nechushtan, Nisman, Duran, Samman, Birimberg-Schwartz, Grunewald, Eyal and Peretz.


  • ALDH
  • GLUT1
  • aldehyde dehydrogenase
  • cisplatin
  • disulfiram
  • glucose
  • metabolism
  • valproic acid


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