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Carcinogenesis. 2006 Aug;27(8):1682-91. Epub 2006 Apr 5.

Grape seed proanthocyanidins induce apoptosis and inhibit metastasis of highly metastatic breast carcinoma cells.

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Department of Dermatology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, AL 35294, USA.

Erratum in

  • Carcinogenesis. 2013 Aug;34(8):1941.


The strategies available for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer are limited. Dietary botanicals may have a better protective effect on this disease. We therefore investigated the effects of grape seed proanthocyanidins (GSPs) on a highly metastatic mouse mammary carcinoma cell line. In vitro treatment of breast cancer cells, 4T1, MCF-7 and MDA-MB-468, with GSPs resulted in significant inhibition of cellular proliferation and viability, and induction of apoptosis in 4T1 cells in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Further analysis indicated an alteration in the ratio of Bax/Bcl-2 proteins in favor of apoptosis, and the knockdown of Bax using Bax siRNA transfection of 4T1 cells resulted in blocking of GSPs-induced apoptosis. Induction of apoptosis was associated with the release of cytochrome c, increased expression of Apaf-1 and activation of caspase 3 and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase. Treatment with the pan-caspase inhibitor (Z-VAD-FMK) resulted in partial but significant inhibition of apoptosis in 4T1 cells suggesting the involvement of both caspase activation-dependent and activation-independent pathways in the apoptosis of 4T1 cells induced by GSPs. The effects of dietary GSPs were then examined using an in vivo model in which 4T1 cells were implanted subcutaneously in Balb/c mice. Dietary GSPs (0.2 and 0.5%, w/w) significantly inhibited the growth of the implanted 4T1 tumor cells and increased the ratio of Bax:Bcl-2 proteins, cytochrome c release, induction of Apaf-1 and activation of caspase 3 in the tumor microenvironment. Notably, the metastasis of tumor cells to the lungs was inhibited significantly and the survival of the mice enhanced. These data suggest that GSPs possess chemotherapeutic efficacy against breast cancer including inhibition of metastasis.

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