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Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2015;16(5):2087-92.

Silibilin-induces apoptosis in breast cancer cells by modulating p53, p21, Bak and Bcl-XL pathways.

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International Branch of Tabriz University of Medical Sciences (Aras), Tabriz, Iran E-mail :


Nowadays herbal-derived medicines are attracting attention as new sources of drugs with few side effects. Silibinin is a flavonoid compound with chemotheraputic effects on different cancers such as examples in the prostate, lung, colon and breast. In the present study, the cytotoxic effects of silibinin on MCF7 breast cancer cells were investigated. Apoptosis was determined by flow cytometry and the impact of silibinin on the expression of pivotal genes including Bak, P53, P21, BRCA1, BCL-X1 and ATM was analyzed. Treatment for 24h had a significant dose-dependent inhibitory effect on cell growth (p<0.05) with dose- and time- dependent induction of apoptosis (p<0.05). In addition, there were significant increases in BRCA1, ATM, Bak and Bcl-XL gene expression at the mRNA level with different concentrations of silibinin for 24 or 48 h (p<0.05). Taken together, the results suggest that silibinin inhibits the proliferation and induces apoptosis of MCF-7 cells by down-regulating Bak, P53, P21, BRCA1, BCL-Xl and thus may be considered as an effective adjuvant drug to produce a better chemopreventive response for the cancer therapy.

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