Antiestrogenic activities of Ginkgo biloba extracts

J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2006 Aug;100(4-5):167-76. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2006.04.007. Epub 2006 Jul 13.


Most climacteric and postmenopausal women appear to have vasomotor symptoms as well as a high risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. Although exogenous estrogens can reduce these symptoms, women are reluctant to use hormone replacement therapy (HRT) due to its undesirable side effects, such as irregular bleeding and an increased risk of breast cancer. A previous study suggested that Ginkgo biloba extracts (GBE) have estrogenic activity and might be suitable as an alternative to HRT. However, there are no reports of the preventive effect of GBE on breast cancer, which is the side effect of classical HRT. In this study, it was confirmed that GBE exhibits estrogenic and antiestrogenic activity depending on the E2 and GBE concentration, via estrogen receptor (ER)-dependent and ER-independent pathways. In addition, GBE reduced the E2 levels by stimulating the E2 metabolism and inhibiting E2 synthesis, which indicates that GBE can induce antiestrogenic activity via the depletion of E2. Furthermore, GBE might have similar action to selective arylhydrocarbon receptor modulators (SAhRMs), which induce antiestrogenic activity through cross-talk between the arylhydrocarbon receptor (AhR) and ER. In conclusion, GBE has a biphasic effect on estrogen, and can be considered as a potential alternative to HRT with chemopreventive effects on breast cancer. However, further studies on animals and humans will be required.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aromatase / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Cell Line, Tumor / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1 / metabolism
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Estrogen Antagonists / chemistry
  • Estrogen Antagonists / metabolism*
  • Estrogen Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Estrogens / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Ginkgo biloba / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / metabolism*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Transcriptional Activation / drug effects


  • Estrogen Antagonists
  • Estrogens
  • Plant Extracts
  • Aromatase
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1