Effects of physiological levels of the green tea extract epigallocatechin-3-gallate on breast cancer cells

Li Zeng, Jeffrey M P Holly, Claire M Perks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Physiological concentrations of the green tea extract epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) caused growth inhibition in estrogen receptor α (ERα)-positive MCF7 cells that was associated with down-regulation of the ERα and reduced insulin-like growth factor binding protein-2 abundance and increased protein abundance of the tumor suppressor genes p53/p21. In contrast to MCF7 cells that have wt p53, EGCG alone did not change cell proliferation or death significantly in another ERα-positive cell line T47D that possesses mutant p53. EGCG increased ERα protein levels and as a consequence, the cells responded significantly better to an ERα antagonist tamoxifen (TAM) in the presence of EGCG. EGCG significantly increased cell death in an ERα-negative cell line, MDA-MB-231 that also possesses mutant p53. EGCG significantly increased the ERα and insulin-like growth factor-I receptor levels and thereby enhanced the sensitivities of the cells to TAM and a blocking antibody targeting the insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (αIR3). In contrast to MCF7, T47D and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells that exhibited significant changes in key molecules involved in breast growth and survival upon treatment with physiological levels of EGCG, the growth, survival, and levels of these proteins in non-malignant breast epithelial cells, MCF10A cells, were not affected.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberArticle 61
Number of pages10
JournalFrontiers in Endocrinology
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2014


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