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Cancer Lett. 2003 Oct 8;200(1):41-7.

Biphasic modulation of cell proliferation by quercetin at concentrations physiologically relevant in humans.

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Division of Toxicology, Wageningen University, 6703 HE, Wageningen, The Netherlands.


Optimal in vitro conditions regarding quercetin solubility and stability were defined. Using these conditions, the effect of quercetin on proliferation of the colon carcinoma cell lines HCT-116 and HT29 and the mammary adenocarcinoma cell line MCF-7 was investigated. For the colon carcinoma cell lines, at relatively high concentrations, a significant decrease in cell proliferation was observed, providing a basis for claims on the anti-carcinogenic activity of quercetin. However, at lower concentrations, a subtle but significant stimulation of cell proliferation was observed for all cell lines tested. These results point at a dualistic influence of quercetin on cell proliferation that may affect present views on its supposed beneficial anti-proliferative effect.

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