Effect of bisphenols on telomerase expression and activity in breast cancer cell lines

Zainab Awada, Rihab Nasr, Reem Akika, Akram Ghantous, Lifang Hou, Nathalie K. Zgheib*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Bisphenol A (BPA), a monomer of polycarbonates and resins, was shown to induce the expression of telomerase enzyme which has been associated with breast cancer development and progression. However, the effects of BPA analogues, bisphenol F (BPF) and bisphenol S (BPS) on telomere-linked pathway have not been evaluated. Herein, MCF-7 (estrogen receptor (ER)-positive) and MDA-MB-231 (ER-negative) cells were treated with BPA, BPF and BPS ± estrogen receptor inhibitor (ERI), for 24 and/or 48 h. RNA expression and enzymatic activity of telomerase were measured using reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) and telomeric repeat amplification protocol (TRAP); respectively. Relative telomere length (RTL) was also measured using quantitative PCR. After 24 h, the three bisphenols resulted in a 2–3 folds increase in expression and activity of telomerase in MCF-7 but not in MDA-MB-231 cells, and this increase was prevented upon co-treatment with ERI. The observed increase in the expression and activity of telomerase after 24 h of treatment with bisphenols was associated with differential and modest ER-dependent lengthening in RTL at 48 h. Our results show that telomerase potentially mediates the effects of the three bisphenols in ER-positive breast carcinoma. Hence, further investigation is warranted to elucidate the telomerase-linked pathways that could underlie bisphenol-related effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3541-3549
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Biology Reports
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2020


  • Bisphenols
  • Estrogen receptor
  • MCF-7
  • MDA-MB-231
  • Telomerase
  • Telomere

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology


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