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Journal of Cancer Prevention

Original Article

Cancer prevention research 2009; 14(1): 28-33

Published online March 30, 2009

© Korean Society of Cancer Prevention

Plant-derived Omega-3 Fatty Acids Have Anti-carcinogenic Effect in MCF-7 Breast Cancer Cells

Jin Kyung Park1, Ji-Yoon Kim1, Joeng-Woo Chon1 and Yoo Kyoung Park1,2


Plant-based omega-3 fatty acid, Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA, 18: 3n-3) shows large potential for the ingredient in functional foods. The aim of this study was to investigate if alpha linolenic acid (ALA) has anti-carcinogenic effect in breast cancer cells (MCF-7). To test the effect of ALA in MCF-7 cells was performed in two pronged analysis, involving the anti-proliferative pathway and the pro-apoptotic pathway. The influence of ALA on the proliferation of MCF-7 cells was tested by MTT assay. ALA exhibited cell growth inhibitory activity in a dose and time dependent manner. Secondly, the pro-apoptotic pathway was assessed by flow cytometry, and showed a sub-G1 accumulation. Furthermore, western blot studies showed that 48 hours of ALA treatment was associasted with an up-regulation of pro-apoptotic Bax expression, and a down-regulation of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 expression dose-dependently causing decreases of Bcl-2/Bax ratio. We examined that anti-carcinogenic activities of ALA by induction of apoptosis in breast cancer cells through modulation of Bcl-2/Bax ratio. In conclusion, this study suggests that ALA has the potential as chemo-preventive agent by induction of apoptosis. (Cancer Prev Res 14, 28-33, 2009)

Keywords: Omega-3 fatty acid, Alpha-linolenic acid, Breast cancer cells, Bax, Bcl-2

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