Effect of Phytoestrogens on the MCF-7 Breast Cancer Cell Line
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Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women. Phytoestrogens exert anti-estrogenic effects in some tissues, including breast tissue, by interfering with estrogen receptors (ERs). In this study, solid phase extraction (SPE) fractions of Alfalfa, Medicago sativa L. and White clover, Trifolium repens L. (Fabaceae), were analyzed for their effects on the ER positive breast cancer cell line MCF-7. Treatment with Alfalfa SPE at 1 μg estradiol (E) equivalents/ml for 72 h decreased MCF-7 cell viability by 90%. Western blot analyses of cell cycle arrest marker, p21, and apoptosis markers, p53, Bax, Cytochrome c, poly-(ADP-ribose)-polymerase and caspase-3, revealed an up-regulated expression correlating with Alfalfa treatment at 1 μg E equivalents. These results suggest that Alfalfa phytoestrogens may have potential anti-cancer benefits. Further fractionation and chemical characterization of Alfalfa phytoestrogens may result in the development of potential anticancer agents.