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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009 Aug;1171:479-83. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04692.x.

Phloretin induces apoptosis in H-Ras MCF10A human breast tumor cells through the activation of p53 via JNK and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling.

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Department of Food Science and Biotechnology, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.


Mutations in Ras play a critical role in the development of human cancers, including breast cancer. We investigated the possible antiproliferative effects of the naturally occurring dihydrochalcone phloretin [2',4',6'-trihydroxy-3-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-propiophenone] on H-Ras-transformed MCF10A human breast epithelial (H-Ras MCF10A) cells. Phloretin suppressed H-Ras MCF10A cell proliferation in a dose-dependent manner and induced nuclear condensation in the cells, indicating that phloretin-induced cell death occurs mainly via the induction of apoptosis. Prominent upregulation of p53 and Bax and cleavage of poly (ADP)-ribose polymerase were also detected in the phloretin-treated cells. Finally, phloretin markedly increased caspase-3 activity as well as JNK and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling. Our findings suggest that the phloretin-induced apoptosis of breast tumor cells contributes to the chemopreventive potential of phloretin against breast cancer.

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