Vitamin C inhibits triple-negative breast cancer metastasis by affecting the expression of YAP1 and synaptopodin 2

Liping Gan, Vladimir Camarena, Sushmita Mustafi, Gaofeng Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Vitamin C supplementation has been shown to decrease triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) metastasis. However, the molecular mechanism whereby vitamin C inhibits metastasis remains elusive. It has been postulated that vitamin C reduces the levels of HIF-1α, the master regulator of metastasis, by promoting its hydroxylation and degradation. Here, we show that vitamin C at 100 µM, a concentration achievable in the plasma in vivo by oral administration, blocks TNBC cell migration and invasion in vitro. The protein level of HIF-1α remains largely unchanged in cultured TNBC cells and xenografts, partially due to its upregulated transcription by vitamin C, suggesting that HIF-1α unlikely mediates the action of vitamin C on metastasis. Vitamin C treatment upregulates the expression of synaptopodin 2 and downregulates the expression of the transcription coactivator YAP1, both genes in the Hippo pathway. The changes in SYNPO2 and YAP1 expression were subsequently validated at mRNA and protein levels in cultured TNBC cells and xenografts. Further experiments showed that vitamin C treatment inhibits F-actin assembly and lamellipodia formation, which correlates with the changes in SYNPO2 and YAP1 expression. Overall, these results suggest that vitamin C inhibits TNBC metastasis by affecting the expression of SYNPO2 and YAP1. Vitamin C may thus have a potential role in the prevention and treatment of TNBC metastasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2997
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2019



  • F-actin
  • HIF-1α
  • Hippo pathway
  • Lamellipodia
  • Metastasis
  • Synaptopodin 2
  • Triple-negative breast cancer
  • Vitamin C
  • YAP1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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