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Nutr Cancer. 2012;64(5):741-8. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2012.688914. Epub 2012 Jun 4.

Chickpea (Cicer arietinum) and other plant-derived protease inhibitor concentrates inhibit breast and prostate cancer cell proliferation in vitro.

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Northern Ireland Centre for Food & Health, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster, Coleraine, Northern Ireland.


The soybean-derived protease inhibitor, Bowman-Birk inhibitor (BBI), is currently showing great promise as a novel cancer chemopreventive agent. In contrast to the wealth of research conducted on this compound, the anticancer effects of protease inhibitors isolated from other leguminous sources have received limited attention. In the current study, 7 protease inhibitor concentrates (PICs) were isolated from various leguminous sources (including soybean) and characterized. The effects of PICs on the proliferation of breast and prostate cancer cells were investigated in vitro. Chickpea PIC significantly inhibited the viability of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer and PC-3 and LNCaP prostate cancer cells at all concentrations tested (25-400 μg/ml). In addition, kidney bean (200, 400 μg/ml), soybean (50, 100 μg/ml), and mungbean (100, 200 μg/ml) PICs inhibited LNCaP cell viability. These findings suggest that leguminous PICs may possess similar anticancer properties to that of soybean BBI and deserve further study as possible chemopreventive agents.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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