There is a growing interest in the cytotoxic effects of bioactive glycoalkaloids, such as α-tomatine on tumor cells. Here, for the first time, we determine the antitumor potential of tomatine, a mixture of α-tomatine and dehydrotomatine, in metastatic melanoma (MM) cell lines harboring different BRAF and MC1R variants. We performed cytotoxicity experiments and annexin-V/propidium iodide staining to assess the apoptotic/necrotic status of the cells. ER stress and autophagy markers were revealed by Western Blot, whereas antiangiogenic and vascular-disrupting effects were evaluated through a capillary tube formation assay on matrigel and by ELISA kit for VEGF release determination. Cell invasion was determined by a Boyden chamber matrigel assay. Tomatine reduced 50% of cell viability and induced a concentration-dependent increase of apoptotic cells in the range of 0.5–1 μM in terms of α-tomatine. The extent of apoptosis was more than two-fold higher inV600BRAF-D184H/D184H MC1R cells than in BRAF wild-type cells andV600BRAF-MC1R wild-type cell lines. Additionally, tomatine increased the LC3I/II autophagy marker, p-eIF2α, and p-Erk1/2 levels in BRAF wild-type cells. Notably, tomatine strongly reduced cell invasion and melanoma-dependent angiogenesis by reducing VEGF release and tumor-stimulating effects on capillary tube formation. Collectively, our findings support tomatine as a potential antitumor agent in MM.
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