2-Methoxyestradiol (2ME), a 17β-estradiol metabolite, exerts anticancer properties in vitro and in vivo. To address 2ME’s low bioavailability, research led to the in silico design of sulphamoylated 2ME analogues. However, the role of oxidative stress induced in the activity exerted by sulphamoylated compounds remains elusive. In the current study, the influence of 2-Ethyl-17-oxoestra-1,3,5(10)-trien-3-yl sulphamate (ESE-one) on reactive oxygen species (ROS) induction and its effect on cell proliferation, as well as morphology, were assessed in breast tumorigenic cells (MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231). Fluorescent microscopy showed that sulphamoylated estradiol analogues induced hydrogen peroxide and superoxide anion, correlating with decreased cell growth demonstrated by spectrophotometry data. ESE-one exposure resulted in antiproliferation which was repressed by tiron (superoxide inhibitor), trolox (peroxyl inhibitor) and N
′-dimethylthiourea (DMTU) (hydrogen peroxide inhibitor). Morphological studies demonstrated that tiron, trolox and DMTU significantly decreased the number of rounded cells and shrunken cells in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells induced by ESE-one. This in vitro study suggests that ESE-one induces growth inhibition and cell rounding by production of superoxide anion, peroxyl radical and hydrogen peroxide. Identification of these biological changes in cancer cells caused by sulphamoylated compounds hugely contributes towards improvement of anticancer strategies and the ROS-dependent cell death pathways in tumorigenic breast cells.
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