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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1999 Jun 7;259(2):319-26.

Genotoxicity of human milk extracts and detection of DNA damage in exfoliated cells recovered from breast milk.

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Institute of Cancer Research, Haddow Laboratories, Cotswold Road, Sutton, Surry SM2 5NG, United Kingdom.


Genotoxic agents of environmental or dietary origin may play a role in breast cancer initiation. The ability of extracts of human milk to cause mutations in S. typhimurium TA1538 and YG1019 and to induce micronuclei and DNA strand breaks in MCL-5 cells was investigated. Twenty samples from different donors were analysed and of these, 6 were adjudged to produce positive mutagenic response in one or both bacterial strains. The same samples also induced significant micronucleus formation in MCL-5 cells. In the comet assay, 13/20 samples caused DNA strand breaks in MCL-5 cells. Viable exfoliated breast cells were recovered from fresh milk samples and the ability of milk extracts to cause DNA damage in these cells was demonstrated. The results show that human milk can contain components capable of causing genotoxic damage in test systems and in human breast cells, events that may be significant in the initiation of breast cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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