Pycnogenol reduces talc-induced neoplastic transformation in human ovarian cell cultures

Phytother Res. 2007 Jun;21(6):579-86. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2117.


Talc and poor diet have been suggested to increase the risk of developing ovarian cancer; which can be reduced by a diet rich in fruit and vegetables. Talc is ubiquitous despite concern about its safety, role as a possible carcinogen and known ability to cause irritation and inflammation. It was recently shown that Pycnogenol (Pyc; a proprietary mixture of water-soluble bioflavonoids extracted from French maritime pine bark) was selectively toxic to established malignant ovarian germ cells. This study investigated talc-induced carcinogenesis and Pyc-induced chemoprevention. Normal human epithelial and granulosa ovarian cell lines and polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN) were treated with talc, or pretreated with Pyc then talc. Cell viability, reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and neoplastic transformation by soft agar assay were measured. Talc increased proliferation, induced neoplastic transformation and increased ROS generation time-dependently in the ovarian cells and dose-dependently in the PMN. Pretreatment with Pyc inhibited the talc-induced increase in proliferation, decreased the number of transformed colonies and decreased the ROS generation in the ovarian cells. The data suggest that talc may contribute to ovarian neoplastic transformation and Pyc reduced the talc-induced transformation. Taken together, Pyc may prove to be a potent chemopreventative agent against ovarian carcinogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / drug effects*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Neutrophils / cytology
  • Neutrophils / drug effects
  • Neutrophils / metabolism
  • Ovary / cytology
  • Ovary / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / blood
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Talc / pharmacology*


  • Flavonoids
  • Plant Extracts
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Talc
  • pycnogenols