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Carcinogenesis. 1999 May;20(5):793-8.

Dietary glycine inhibits the growth of B16 melanoma tumors in mice.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 27599-7365, USA.


Dietary glycine inhibited hepatocyte proliferation in response to the carcinogen WY-14,643. Since increased cell replication is associated with hepatic cancer caused by WY-14,643, glycine may have anti-cancer properties. Therefore, these experiments were designed to test the hypothesis that dietary glycine would inhibit the growth of tumors arising from B16 melanoma cells implanted subcutaneously in mice. C57BL/6 mice were fed diet supplemented with 5% glycine and 15% casein or control diet (20% casein) for 3 days prior to subcutaneous implantation of B16 tumor cells. Tumor volume was estimated from tumor diameter for 14 days. Tumors were excised, weighed and sectioned for histology post-mortem. B16 cells and endothelial cells were cultured in vitro to assess effects of glycine on cell growth. Statistical tests were two-sided and a P-value of 0.05 was defined as a significant difference between groups. Weight gain did not differ between mice fed control and glycine-containing diets. B16 tumors grew rapidly in mice fed control diet; however, in mice fed glycine diet, tumor size was 50-75% less. At the time of death, tumors from glycine-fed mice weighed nearly 65% less than tumors from mice fed control diet (P < 0.05). Glycine (0.01-10 mM) did not effect growth rates of B16 cells in vitro. Moreover, tumor volume and mitotic index of B16 tumors in vivo did not differ 2 days after implantation when tumors were small enough to be independent of vascularization. After 14 days, tumors from mice fed dietary glycine had 70% fewer arteries (P < 0.05). Furthermore, glycine (0.01-10 mM) inhibited the growth of endothelial cells in vitro in a dose-dependent manner (P < 0.05; IC50 = 0.05 mM). These data support the hypothesis that dietary glycine prevents tumor growth in vivo by inhibiting angiogenesis through mechanisms involving inhibition of endothelial cell proliferation.

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