The prognosis of patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive breast cancer has considerably improved. However, no reliable treatment besides anti-HER2 strategies has been available. FTY720, a small-molecule compound used for treating refractory multiple sclerosis, has been reported to have beneficial effects against cancers. We therefore evaluated the efficacy of FTY720 in trastuzumab-resistant breast cancer cells and investigated the possible mechanism involved. This study evaluated morphological changes after FTY720 treatment. Antiproliferative WST-1 assays and LDH Cytotoxicity Assay Kits were used to determine the treatment effects of drugs, whereas Western blot analysis was used to evaluate protein expression. Apoptotic events were investigated through annexin V staining and TUNEL assays using flow cytometry. FTY720 was effective in trastuzumab-resistant breast cancer cell lines despite the presence of PIK3CA mutation. Studied on a xenograft mouse model, FTY720-treated groups had statistically significantly poorer HCC1954 xenograft growth in vivo compared with the control group. Our findings suggest that FTY720 can overcome resistance to trastuzumab therapy in patients with HER2-positive breast cancer, with FTY720 plus trastuzumab might offer even better efficacy in vitro and in vivo.
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