Potent inhibitory action of red wine polyphenols on human breast cancer cells

J Cell Biochem. 2000 Jun 6;78(3):429-41. doi: 10.1002/1097-4644(20000901)78:3<429::aid-jcb8>3.0.co;2-m.


Breast cancer (one of the most common malignancy in Western societies), as well as esophagus, stomach, lung, bladder, and prostate cancer, depend on environmental factors and diet for growth and evolution. Dietary micronutriments have been proposed as effective inhibitory agents for cancer initiation, progression, and incidence. Among them, polyphenols, present in different foods and beverages, have retained attention in recent years. Red wine is a rich source of polyphenols, and their antioxidant and tumor arresting effects have been demonstrated in different in vitro and in vivo systems. In the present study, we have measured the antiproliferative effect of red wine concentrate, its total polyphenolic pool, and purified catechin, epicatechin, quercetin, and resveratrol, which account for more than 70% of the total polyphenols in red wine, on the proliferation of hormone sensitive (MCF7, T47D) and resistant (MDA-MB-231) breast cancer cell lines. Our results indicate that polyphenols, at the picomolar or the nanomolar range, decrease cell proliferation in a dose- and a time-dependant manner. In hormone sensitive cell lines, a specific interaction of each polyphenol with steroid receptors was observed, with IC(50)s lower than previously described. Interaction of polyphenols with steroid receptors cannot fully explain their inhibitory effect on cell proliferation. In addition, discrete antioxidant action on each cell line was detected under the same concentrations, both by modifying the toxic effect of H(2)O(2), and the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), after phorbol ester stimulation. Our results suggest that low concentrations of polyphenols, and consecutively, consumption of wine, or other polyphenol-rich foods and beverages, could have a beneficial antiproliferative effect on breast cancer cell growth.

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Catechin / pharmacology
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cell Survival
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Estradiol / metabolism
  • Female
  • Flavonoids*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / toxicity
  • Phenols / isolation & purification
  • Phenols / pharmacology*
  • Polymers / isolation & purification
  • Polymers / pharmacology*
  • Progesterone / metabolism
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Receptors, Steroid / metabolism
  • Resveratrol
  • Stilbenes / pharmacology
  • Time Factors
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / drug effects*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / metabolism
  • Wine*


  • Antioxidants
  • Flavonoids
  • Phenols
  • Polymers
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Receptors, Steroid
  • Stilbenes
  • Progesterone
  • Estradiol
  • Catechin
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Resveratrol