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Anticancer Res. 1998 May-Jun;18(3A):1405-8.

Mammalian lignans inhibit the growth of estrogen-independent human colon tumor cells.

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Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto, Ont., Canada.



The mammalian lignans enterolactone (EL) and enterodiol (ED) derived from precursors in foods, particularly flaxseed, have been shown to reduce the mammary tumor growth due to their antiestrogenic properties. Our objective was to investigate whether lignans have growth inhibitory effects against colon tumor cells and whether these effects are mediated through their antiestrogenic activity.


Four human colon tumor cell lines (LS174T, Caco-2, HCT-15, T-84) were incubated with various levels of EL, ED or 17 beta-estradiol for 8 to 10 days. Cell proliferation was measured by the BrdU method.


At 100 microM concentration, both lignans significantly reduced the proliferation of all cell lines. EL was more than twice as effective as ED at this concentration. The growth was not affected by the presence of 17 beta-estradiol implying that these cells are not estrogen-sensitive.


Lignans are growth inhibitors of colon tumor cells and they may act through mechanism(s) other than antiestrogenic activity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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