Growth regulation of polyunsaturated fatty acid on MCF-7 human breast cancer cell line

Zwe-Ling Kong, PhD, Jeremy Woo, MS

Cellular Immunology Laboratory, Department of Food Science, National Taiwan Ocean University, Keelung, Taiwan

There is an close relationship between the incidence of breast cancer and the level of fatty acid consumption. Diets rich in polyunsaturated fatty acid have been shown an inhibitory affect on the growth of breast cancer cell. On the other hand, the epidemiological evidence provides strong support that estrogen affect the risk for development of breast cancer. The addition of γ-linolenic acid to breast cancer cells caused a dose- and time- dependent inhibition of growth. Our studies suggest that the inhibition in cell growth was not due to major cytotoxic effects. Genomic DNA isolated from PUFA-supplemented culture exhibited a pattern of fragmentation, the main features of apoptosis. Whereas, the addition of 17 β-estradiol be able to restored cell growth. In order to further studies the relation between telomerase activity and apoptosis in breast cancer formation, the TRAP activity and chromosome fragmentation assay were conducted in cultured MCF-7 cells treating with γ-linolenic acids. Antioxidants supplement prevented γ-linolenic acid induced cell death, indicating that oxygen free radicals may play an important role in apoptosis induction.

KEY WORDS: estrogen, estradiol, telomerase, apoptosis, antioxidant.

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Paper presented at the International Symposium on Predictive Oncology and Intervention Strategies; Paris, France; February 9 - 12, 2002; in the section on Apoptosis - Molecular Mechanisms.