Stur, E., Aristizabal-Pachon, A. F., Peronni, K. C., Agostini, L. P., Waigel, S., Chariker, J., Miller, D. M., Thomas, S. D., Rezzoug, F., Detogni, R. S., Reis, R. S. D., Silva Junior, W. A., & Louro, I. D.; “Glyphosate-based herbicides at low doses affect canonical pathways in estrogen positive and negative breast cancer cell lines;” Plos One, 2019, 14(7), e0219610; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0219610.


Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum herbicide that is used worldwide. It represents a potential harm to surface water, and when commercially mixed with surfactants, its uptake is greatly magnified. The most well-known glyphosate-based product is Roundup. This herbicide is potentially an endocrine disruptor and many studies have shown the cytotoxicity potential of glyphosate-based herbicides. In breast cancer (BC) cell lines it has been demonstrated that glyphosate can induce cellular proliferation via estrogen receptors. Therefore, we aimed to identify gene expression changes in ER+ and ER- BC cell lines treated with Roundup and AMPA, to address changes in canonical pathways that would be related or not with the ER pathway, which we believe could interfere with cell proliferation. Using the Human Transcriptome Arrays 2.0, we identified gene expression changes in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-468 exposed to low concentrations and short exposure time to Roundup Original and AMPA. The results showed that at low concentration (0.05% Roundup) and short exposure (48h), both cell lines suffered deregulation of 11 canonical pathways, the most important being cell cycle and DNA damage repair pathways. Enrichment analysis showed similar results, except that MDA-MB-468 altered mainly metabolic processes. In contrast, 48h 10mM AMPA showed fewer differentially expressed genes, but also mainly related with metabolic processes. Our findings suggest that Roundup affects survival due to cell cycle deregulation and metabolism changes that may alter mitochondrial oxygen consumption, increase ROS levels, induce hypoxia, damage DNA repair, cause mutation accumulation and ultimately cell death. To our knowledge, this is the first study to analyze the effects of Roundup and AMPA on gene expression in triple negative BC cells. Therefore, we conclude that both compounds can cause cellular damage at low doses in a relatively short period of time in these two models, mainly affecting cell cycle and DNA repair. FULL TEXT