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Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2016 Nov 1;17(11):4965-4971.

Inhibitory Effect of Ginseng on Breast Cancer Cell Line Growth Via Up-Regulation of Cyclin Dependent Kinase Inhibitor, p21 and p53

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College of Pharmacy, Pharmacology and Toxicology Department, Kind Saud University, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Email:



Breast cancer is global female health problem worldwide. Most of the currently used agents for breast cancer treatment have toxic side-effects. Ginseng root, an oriental medicine, has many health benefits and may exhibit direct anti-cancer properties. This study was performed to assess the effects of ginseng on breast cancer cell lines.


Cytotoxicity of ginseng extract was measured by MTT assay after exposure of MDA-MB-231, MCF-10A and MCF-7 breast cancer cells to concentrations of 0.25, 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2 and 2.5 mg/well. Expression levels of p21WAF, p16INK4A, Bcl-2, Bax and P53 genes were analyzed by quantitative real time PCR.


The treatment resulted in inhibition of cell proliferation in a dose-and time-dependent manner. p53, p21WAF1and p16INK4A expression levels were up-regulated in ginseng treated MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 cancer cells compared to untreated controls and in MCF-10A cells. The expression levels of Bcl2 in the MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 cells were down-regulated. In contrast, that of Bax was significantly up-regulated.


The results of this study revealed that ginseng may inhibit breast cancer cell growth by activation of the apoptotic pathway.


Ginseng; MDA; 231; MTT assay; gene expression; quantitative real time PCR

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