Morphine counteracts the effects of paclitaxel in triple-negative breast cancer cells

Sezer G., Akkuş A., Önal M. G., Cumaoğlu A.

INDIAN JOURNAL OF MEDICAL RESEARCH, vol.156, no.1, pp.70-76, 2022 (SCI-Expanded)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 156 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.4103/ijmr.ijmr_2443_19
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Page Numbers: pp.70-76
  • Erciyes University Affiliated: Yes


MDA.MB.231 cells were treated with paclitaxel in the presence or absence of morphine and examined for cell proliferation by the MTT assay. In addition, the effect of morphine on paclitaxel-induced apoptosis was investigated by flow cytometric assay and by the ratio of Bax/Bcl-2 mRNA expression levels with quantitative real-time (qRT)-PCR.

Morphine significantly increased the proliferation of breast cancer cells at low concentrations (0.1-2.5 µM) but higher concentrations showed cytotoxic effect. Pre-treatment with 0.1 or 1 µM of morphine decreased the paclitaxel-induced cytotoxicity, the proportion of apoptotic cell, and the ratio of Bax/Bcl-2 mRNA expressions.

Our data suggest that morphine promotes breast cancer cell viability at clinically relevant plasma concentrations and reduces the apoptotic effect of paclitaxel. This interaction may be very important in clinical settings; however, more studies are needed to explore the plausible mechanisms of interaction and to correlate such findings through in vivo animal studies as well as clinically.