Fresh apples suppress mammary carcinogenesis and proliferative activity and induce apoptosis in mammary tumors of the Sprague-Dawley rat

J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Jan 14;57(1):297-304. doi: 10.1021/jf801826w.


Whole apple extracts possess potent antioxidant activity and antiproliferative activity against cancer cells in vitro. The objectives of this study were to determine the anticancer activity of apple extracts in a rat mammary cancer model induced by 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA) in vivo and to determine if apple extracts inhibited cell proliferation and affected apoptosis in mammary cancer tissues in vivo. Rats were given the whole apple extracts (0, 3.3, 10.0, or 20.0 g/kg of body weight) by gavage starting 2 weeks prior to DMBA administration and continuing for 24 weeks. Rats treated with DMBA (positive control) developed mammary tumors with 71.4% tumor incidence during the 24-week study. No tumors were detected in the negative control group untreated with DMBA. A dose-dependent inhibition of mammary carcinogenesis by apple extracts was observed (P < 0.01). Tumor multiplicity decreased with increasing apple extracts. Histopathological evaluations of tumors were performed. The proportions of adenocarcinoma masses decreased with increasing apple extracts. The expression of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), cyclin D1, and Bcl-2 decreased, and Bax expression and apoptosis increased with increasing apple extracts. These results demonstrate the potent capacity of fresh apples to suppress DMBA-initiated mammary cancers in rats.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 9,10-Dimethyl-1,2-benzanthracene
  • Animals
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Female
  • Fruit / chemistry*
  • Malus / chemistry*
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Animal / chemically induced
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Animal / pathology
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Animal / prevention & control*
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • 9,10-Dimethyl-1,2-benzanthracene