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J Ginseng Res. 2015 Apr;39(2):125-34. doi: 10.1016/j.jgr.2014.09.003. Epub 2014 Oct 18.

Anti-breast cancer activity of Fine Black ginseng (Panax ginseng Meyer) and ginsenoside Rg5.

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College of Pharmacy, Sookmyung Women's University, Seoul, Korea.



Black ginseng (Ginseng Radix nigra, BG) refers to the ginseng steamed for nine times and fine roots (hairy roots) of that is called fine black ginseng (FBG). It is known that the content of saponin of FBG is higher than that of BG. Therefore, in this study, we examined antitumor effects against MCF-7 breast cancer cells to target the FBG extract and its main component, ginsenoside Rg5 (Rg5).


Action mechanism was determined by MTT assay, cell cycle assay and western blot analysis.


The results from MTT assay showed that MCF-7 cell proliferation was inhibited by Rg5 treatment for 24, 48 and 72 h in a dose-dependent manner. Rg5 at different concentrations (0, 25, 50 and 100 μM), induced cell cycle arrest in G0/G1 phase through regulation of cell cycle-related proteins in MCF-7 cells. As shown in the results from western blot analysis, Rg5 increased expression of p53, p21(WAF1/CIP1) and p15(INK4B) and decreased expression of Cyclin D1, Cyclin E2 and CDK4. Expression of apoptosis-related proteins including Bax, PARP and Cytochrome c was also regulated by Rg5. These results indicate that Rg5 stimulated cell apoptosis and cell cycle arrest at G0/G1 phase via regulation of cell cycle-associated proteins in MCF-7 cells.


Rg5 promotes breast cancer cell apoptosis in a multi-path manner with higher potency compared to 20(S)-ginsenoside Rg3 (Rg3) in MCF-7 (HER2-/ER+) and MDA-MB-453 (HER2+/ER-) human breast cancer cell lines, and this suggests that Rg5 might be an effective natural new material in improving breast cancer.


Fine Black ginseng (Panax ginseng Meyer); anticancer; breast cancer; cell cycle arrest; ginsenoside Rg5

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