, Volume 30, Issue 12, pp 1139–1143 | Cite as

Effect of tocotrienols on the growth of a human breast cancer cell line in culture

  • Kalanithi Nesaretnam
  • Najla Guthrie
  • Ann F. Chambers
  • Kenneth K. Carroll


The tocotrienol-rich fraction (TRF) of palm oil consists of tocotrienols and some α-tocopherol (α-T). Tocotrienols are a form of vitamin E having an unsaturated side-chain, rather than the saturated side-chain of the more common tocopherols. Because palm oil has been shown not to promote chemically-induced mammary carcinogenesis, we tested effects of TRF and α-T on the proliferation, growth, and plating efficiency (PE) of MDA-MB-435 estrogen-receptor-negative human breast cancer cells. TRF inhibited the proliferation of these cells with a concentration required to inhibit cell proliferation by 50% of 180 μg/mL, whereas α-T had no effect at concentrations up to 1000 μg/mL as measured by incorporation of [3H]thymidine. The effects of TRF and α-T also were tested in longer-term growth experiments, using concentrations of 180 and 500 μg/mL. We found that TRF inhibited the growth of these cells by 50%, whereas α-T did not. Their effect on the ability of these cells to form colonies also was studied, and it was found that TRF inhibited PE, whereas α-T had no effect. These results suggest that the inhibition is due to the presence of tocotrienols in TRF rather than α-T.


Human Breast Cancer Cell Human Breast Cancer Cell Line DMBA Tocotrienols Plate Efficiency 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.







3,(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide


plating efficiency


tocotrienol-rich fraction


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Copyright information

© American Oil Chemists’ Society 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kalanithi Nesaretnam
    • 1
  • Najla Guthrie
    • 2
  • Ann F. Chambers
    • 3
  • Kenneth K. Carroll
    • 2
  1. 1.Palm Oil Research Institute of MalaysiaKuala LumpurMalaysia
  2. 2.University of Western OntarioLondon
  3. 3.London Regional Cancer Research CentreLondonCanada

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