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Cancer Biol Ther. 2007 Dec;6(12):1938-43. Epub 2007 Sep 1.

Green tea polyphenol and epigallocatechin gallate induce apoptosis and inhibit invasion in human breast cancer cells.

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Department of Pathology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland 20814, USA.


Currently, there is no effective therapy for estrogen independent breast cancer. MDA-MB-231 is an estrogen receptor negative highly invasive human breast cancer cell line and has been used as a relevant model system to evaluate drugs with chemopreventive potential against highly invasive breast cancer phenotypes. Epidemiological studies though inconclusive have shown that consumption of Green Tea Polyphenols (GTP) reduces the incidence and progression of breast cancer. Green tea is an important source of antioxidants that may be useful for chemoprevention of cancer. Recently published preclinical study from our lab suggested that GTP and EGCG treatment inhibit proliferation and induce apoptosis of MDA-MB-231. In this study, we have evaluated apoptotic and anti-invasive activity of green tea polyphenols (GTP) and its principal constituent Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) in MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cell line. In in vitro human breast cancer model, EGCG and GTP induced apoptosis and significantly decreased invasion of breast cancer cells. Western blotting of MDA-MB-231 cell lysates from EGCG and GTP treated and untreated control revealed an increase in bax, reduction in bcl2 and PARP cleavage. Quantitative fluorescence labeling resulted in a 24-28% reduction in invasion through matrigel by EGCG and 15-23% reduction by GTP in a dose dependent manner. Focussed microarray analysis and reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and zymogram analysis revealed inhibition of MMP-9 expression by polyphenol treatment. Furthermore, AKT was found to be inhibited both at the RNA and protein level by polyphenol treatment. Moreover EGCG and GTP decreased AKT phosphorylation as found out by Western blotting for Phospho-AKT (Ser-473). beta-catenin level was found to be decreased both in cytoplasm and nucleus. For the first time we report the connection of beta-catenin and AKT modulation by GTP and EGCG as a possible mechanism for the induction of apoptosis in human breast cancer cells and also inhibition in their invasive capacity.

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