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Oncol Rep. 1998 Mar-Apr;5(2):311-5.

Inhibition of aberrant proliferation and induction of apoptosis in pre-neoplastic human mammary epithelial cells by natural phytochemicals.

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Division of Carcinogenesis and Prevention, Strang Cancer Research Laboratory, The Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021, USA.


Aberrant proliferation and modulated apoptosis leading to impaired cellular homeostasis represent crucial early events in the multi-step carcinogenic process. Regulation of these perturbed biomarkers may predict efficacious prevention of cancer development. Present experiments on non-cancerous human mammary epithelial 184-B5 cells were designed to examine whether i) exposure to suspect environmental human carcinogen Benzo (a) pyrene (BP) alters the status of cell proliferation and apoptosis and ii) BP-induced alterations are modulated in response to select natural phytochemicals that inhibit rodent mammary tumorigenesis. Flow cytometric analysis, cellular immunoreactivity to proliferation specific and apoptosis specific gene products and anchorage-dependent colony formation represented quantitative endpoints. Cruciferous glucosinolate indole-3-carbinol (I3C), tea polyphenol (-) epigallo catechin gallate (EGCC) and soy isoflavone genistein (GEN) represented the chemopreventive test compounds. A single 24 h exposure to 39 lM BP resulted in a 50% decrease (P=0.02) in the ratio of quiescent (Q=G0) to proliferative (P=S + M) population in part due to increase in aberrantly proliferative cells. The BP-initiated cells also exhibited an 87.8% inhibition (P=0. 0001) in confluency-associated apoptosis and a concomitant decrease in cellular immunoreactivity to wild-type p53. Simultaneous treatment of cultures with BP + I3C, BP + EGCG and BP + GEN resulted in a 1.8- to 3.4-fold increase (P<0.01) in Q/P ratio and 1.8- to 6. 9-fold increase (P=0.001) in sub G0 (apoptotic) population. The induction of apoptosis was accompanied by enhanced p53 immunoreactivity (P<0.01). In long-term (21 day) experiments, BP treatment induced a 145.3% increase (P=0.001) in anchorage-dependent colony formation. This aberrant proliferation was inhibited by 44.2% to 65.3% (P=0.01) in the presence of the three phytochemicals. Thus, BP-induced aberrant proliferation is inhibited by the natural phytochemicals in part due to regulation of cell cycle progression and induction of p53 dependent apoptosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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