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Genes Nutr. 2012 Jan;7(1):53-61. doi: 10.1007/s12263-011-0223-0. Epub 2011 Apr 28.

Palm tocotrienols decrease levels of pro-angiogenic markers in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) and murine mammary cancer cells.

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Malaysian Palm Oil Board, No. 6, Persiaran Institusi, Bandar Baru Bangi, 43000, Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia,


Anti-angiogenic therapy is widely being used to halt tumour angiogenesis. In this study, the anti-angiogenic activity of palm tocotrienol-rich fraction (TRF) and its individual components (γ- and δ-tocotrienol) were first investigated in vitro in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) and 4T1 mouse mammary cancer cells. Results showed reduced levels of Interkeukin (IL)-8 and IL-6, two pro-angiogenic cytokines in HUVEC treated with palm tocotrienols compared with α-tocopherol (α-T) and control cells (P < 0.05). The production of IL-8 and IL-6 was lowest in δ-tocotrienol (δ-T3)-treated cells followed by γ-tocotrienol (γ-T3) and TRF. There was significant (P < 0.05) reduction in IL-8 and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) production in 4T1 cells treated with TRF or δ-T3. There was decreased expression of VEGF and its receptors; VEGF-R1 (fms-like tyrosine kinase, Flt-1) and VEGF-R2 (Kinase-insert-domain-containing receptor, KDR/Flk-2) in tumour tissues excised from mice supplemented with TRF were observed. There was also decreased expression of VEGF-R2 in lung tissues of mice supplemented with TRF. These observations correlate with the smaller tumour size recorded in the tocotrienol-treated mice. This study confirms previous observations that palm tocotrienols exhibit anti-angiogenic properties that may inhibit tumour progression.

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