Dantrolene Attenuates Cardiotoxicity of Doxorubicin Without Reducing its Antitumor Efficacy in a Breast Cancer Model

Valentina K. Todorova, Eric R. Siegel, Yihong Kaufmann, Asangi Kumarapeli, Aaron Owen, Jeanne Y. Wei, Issam Makhoul, V. Suzanne Klimberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Dysregulation of calcium homeostasis is a major mechanism of doxorubicin (DOX)-induced cardiotoxicity. Treatment with DOX causes activation of sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) ryanodine receptor (RYR) and rapid release of Ca2+ in the cytoplasm resulting in depression of myocardial function. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of dantrolene (DNT) a RYR blocker on both the cardiotoxicity and antitumor activity of DOX in a rat model of breast cancer. Female F344 rats with implanted MAT B III breast cancer cells were randomized to receive intraperitoneal DOX twice per week (12 mg/kg total dose), 5 mg/kg/day oral DNT or a combination of DOX + DNT for 3 weeks. Echocardiography and blood troponin I levels were used to measure myocardial injury. Hearts and tumors were evaluated for histopathological alterations. Blood glutathione was assessed as a measure of oxidative stress. The results showed that DNT improved DOX-induced alterations in the echocardiographic parameters by 50%. Histopathologic analysis of hearts showed reduced DOX induced cardiotoxicity in the group treated with DOX + DNT as shown by reduced interstitial edema, cytoplasmic vacuolization, and myofibrillar disruption, compared with DOX-only–treated hearts. Rats treated with DNT lost less body weight, had higher blood GSH levels and lower troponin I levels than DOX-treated rats. These data indicate that DNT is able to provide protection against DOX cardiotoxicity without reducing its antitumor activity. Further studies are needed to determine the optimal dosing of DNT and DOX in a tumor-bearing host.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-480
Number of pages10
JournalTranslational Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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