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Neoplasma. 2003;50(4):280-6.

Preliminary identification of carotenoids in malignant and benign neoplasms of the breast and surrounding fatty tissue.

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Department of Gynecological Endocrinology, Medical Academy of Bialystok, Bialystok, 15-276 Poland.


An attempt has been made to identify the carotenoids present in the tissue of neoplastic tumors and the surrounding fatty tissue taken from women with histologically diagnosed cancer (ca ductale infiltrans, G2,G3; n=20) and those with benign changes (fibroadenoma, n=20). Carotenoid pigments were isolated using column and thin-layer chromatography. Prior to chromatography, the material was homogenized with acetone under nitrogen in dark glass bottles and the extracts kept in a refrigerator until analyzed. In the present study, we isolated 13 carotenoids belonging to provitamin A and nonprovitamin A carotenoids. The total content of carotenoids in microg/g of tissue was slightly lower in cancers and the surrounding fatty tissues in comparison to benign changes, but in general it was higher in the fatty tissue surrounding the tumors, irrespective of their histological structure (the mean values for cancers 20.433+/-10.64 vs fatty tissue 25.361+/-12.025, p<0.01; and the mean values for benign changes 22.889+/-12.011 vs fatty tissue 27.021+/-13.180, p<0.01). Epoxide carotenoids - lutein epoxide and violaxanthin, were predominant in fatty tissue, both in malignant and benign changes; epoxide carotenoids - mutatoxanthin and lutein epoxide and other carotenoids such as zeaxanthin, canthaxanthin, lutein and neoxanthin were predominant in neoplastic material. Beta carotene and lutein epoxide were found in all samples, alpha carotene was found in 50% of them. Antheraxanthin was present in fatty tissue only. Beta carotene, the main provitamin A carotenoid, content in the material examined ranged from 2.43 to 4.33% in tumor tissue and in fatty tissue surrounding the tumors it was twice as higs. Such carotenoids as 3'-lutein, canthaxanthin and astaxanthin were sporadic. No reoccurring carotenoid "sequences" were found despite the same histopathological diagnosis. No relationship was found between the neoplasm histopatological grade, lesion diameter and the occurrence of specific carotenoids.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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