Biochanin A inhibits breast cancer tumor growth in a murine xenograft model

Pharm Res. 2008 Sep;25(9):2158-63. doi: 10.1007/s11095-008-9583-6. Epub 2008 May 3.


Purpose: Our objective was to determine the effect of the flavonoid biochanin A (BCA), administered alone or in combination with the flavonoids quercetin and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), on the growth of human breast cancer MCF-7 cells in a murine xenograft animal model.

Materials and methods: MCF-7 tumors were implanted into mice and groups of mice were treated with vehicle, BCA at 2 doses (5 or 15 mg/kg), quercetin and EGCG (5 mg/kg each), or BCA combined with quercetin and EGCG (5 mg/kg each). The flavonoids were injected once daily intraperitoneally, with treatment starting 4 weeks prior to cell inoculation.

Results: Treatment with 15 mg/kg of BCA or the mixture of the 3 flavonoids resulted in a reduction in tumor incidence. Tumor size in xenograft mice treated with 15 mg/kg BCA was significantly smaller than in the control group. Although quercetin/EGCG administration did not affect tumor size, treatment with the mixture of the 3 flavonoids at doses of 5 mg/kg produced similar effects as seen with 15 mg/kg BCA.

Conclusions: Our findings indicate that BCA inhibits tumor growth in a xenograft animal model; BCA may represent a breast cancer preventive agent, either administered alone or in combination with other flavonoids.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / blood
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Catechin / analogs & derivatives
  • Catechin / pharmacology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Genistein / administration & dosage
  • Genistein / blood
  • Genistein / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intraperitoneal
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / prevention & control*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Quercetin / pharmacology
  • Time Factors
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Catechin
  • Quercetin
  • epigallocatechin gallate
  • Genistein
  • biochanin A