beta-Ionone suppresses mammary carcinogenesis, proliferative activity and induces apoptosis in the mammary gland of the Sprague-Dawley rat

Int J Cancer. 2008 Jun 15;122(12):2689-98. doi: 10.1002/ijc.23453.


beta-Ionone demonstrates potent anticancer activity both in vitro and in vivo. We determined tumor incidence and the number of rats bearing tumors as well as cell proliferation and apoptosis in a rat mammary cancer model induced by 7, 12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA). Rats were fed an AIN-76A diet containing beta-ionone (0, 9, 18 or 36 mmol/kg), starting 2 weeks before DMBA administration and continuing for 24 weeks. A dose-dependent inhibition of mammary carcinogenesis by dietary beta-ionone was observed. Corresponding tumor incidence values were 82.1, 53.3, 25.9 and 10.0% (p < 0.01 or 0.05). Time to tumor appearance increased and tumor multiplicity decreased with increasing dietary beta-ionone. Histopathological and immunohistochemical evaluations of tumors were performed on the 64, 31, 15 and 3 tumors, respectively, identified in rats from the respective groups of 30. The proportions of adenocarcinomas, adenomas and benign masses were equally distributed in the latter group. In proportions within the other groups, the proportions of adenocarcinomas and benign masses decreased and increased with increasing dietary beta-ionone. Proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), cyclin D1 and Bcl-2 expression decreased, and Bax expression and nuclear fragmentation increased with increasing dietary beta-ionone. These results demonstrate the potent capacity of dietary beta-ionone to suppress DMBA-initiated mammary cancer in rats.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 9,10-Dimethyl-1,2-benzanthracene / toxicity
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Carcinogens / toxicity
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Cyclin D1 / metabolism
  • Female
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / chemically induced
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / metabolism
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / prevention & control*
  • Norisoprenoids / pharmacology*
  • Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Carcinogens
  • Norisoprenoids
  • Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Cyclin D1
  • 9,10-Dimethyl-1,2-benzanthracene
  • beta-ionone