Activation of epidermal growth factor receptors in triple-negative breast cancer cells by morphine; analysis through Raman spectroscopy and machine learning

Sezer G., Şahin F., Önses M. S., Cumaoğlu A.

TALANTA, vol.272, pp.125827-125832, 2024 (SCI-Expanded)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 272
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Journal Name: TALANTA
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, L'Année philologique, Aerospace Database, Analytical Abstracts, Aqualine, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Chemical Abstracts Core, Chimica, Communication Abstracts, Compendex, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, Metadex, Pollution Abstracts, Veterinary Science Database, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.125827-125832
  • Erciyes University Affiliated: Yes



Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a very aggressive form of breast cancer, and the analgesic drug morphine has been shown to promote the proliferation of TNBC cells. This article investigates whether morphine causes activation of epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR), the roles of μ-opioid and EGFR receptors on TNBC cell proliferation and migration. While examining the changes with molecular techniques, we also aimed to investigate the analysis ability of Raman spectroscopy and machine learning-based approach. Effects of morphine on the proliferation and migration of MDA.MB.231 cells were evaluated by MTT and scratch wound-healing tests, respectively. Morphine-induced phosphorylation of the EGFR was analyzed by western blotting in the presence and absence of μ-receptor antagonist naltrexone and the EGFR-tyrosine kinase inhibitor gefitinib. Morphine-induced EGFR phosphorylation and cell migration were significantly inhibited by pretreatments with both naltrexone and gefitinib; however, morphine-increased cell proliferation was inhibited only by naltrexone. While morphine-induced changes were observed in the Raman scatterings of the cells, the inhibitory effect of naltrexone was analyzed with similarity to the control group. Principal component analysis (PCA) of the Raman confirmed the epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like effect of morphine and was inhibited by naltrexone and partly by gefitinib pretreatments. Our in vitro results suggest that combining morphine with an EGFR inhibitor or a peripherally acting opioidergic receptor antagonist may be a good strategy for pain relief without triggering cancer proliferation and migration in TNBC patients. In addition, our results demonstrated the feasibility of the Raman spectroscopy and machine learning-based approach as an effective method to investigate the effects of agents in cancer cells without the need for complex and time-consuming sample preparation. The support vector machine (SVM) with linear kernel automatically classified the effects of drugs on cancer cells with ∼95% accuracy.