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Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2012 Apr;285(4):1145-51. doi: 10.1007/s00404-011-2120-6. Epub 2011 Oct 30.

Antiproliferative activity of lignans against the breast carcinoma cell lines MCF 7 and BT 20.

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Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Rostock, Albert-Einstein-Strasse 3, 18059 Rostock, Germany.



Phytoestrogens are plant-derived, non-steroidal phytochemicals with anticarcinogenic potential. The major structural classes are the isoflavones and lignans. The aim of this study was to compare the effect of the plant-derived lignans secoisolariciresinol and matairesinol with the human lignans enterodiol and enterolactone as well as with 17β estradiol and tamoxifen on cell proliferation of breast carcinoma cell lines.


The influence of the lignans, 17β estradiol and tamoxifen on cell proliferation was determined using the BrdU test in MCF 7 and BT 20 cell lines.


Enterodiol and enterolactone induced a stronger inhibition of cell growth in MCF 7 and BT 20 cells than secoisolariciresinol and matairesinol. The inhibition effects were less expressed in the BT 20 than in the MCF 7 cells.


The human lignans enterodiol and enterolactone are more biologically active than their precursors secoisolariciresinol and matairesinol, and may be defined as the real drugs in cancer prevention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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