Lunasin, a novel seed peptide, sensitizes human breast cancer MDA-MB-231 cells to aspirin-arrested cell cycle and induced apoptosis

Chem Biol Interact. 2010 Jul 30;186(2):127-34. doi: 10.1016/j.cbi.2010.04.027. Epub 2010 May 21.


Breast cancer is one of the most common tumors in women of Western countries. The high aggressiveness and therapeutic resistance of estrogen-independent breast tumors have motivated the development of new strategies for prevention and/or treatment. Combinations of two or more chemopreventive agents are currently being used to achieve greater inhibitory effects on breast cancer cells. This study reveals that both aspirin and lunasin inhibit, in a dose-dependent manner, human estrogen-independent breast cancer MDA-MB-231 cell proliferation. These compounds arrest the cell cycle in the S- and G1-phases, respectively, acting synergistically to induce apoptosis. To begin elucidating the mechanism(s) of action of these compounds, different molecular targets involved in cell cycle control, apoptosis and signal transduction have been evaluated by real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) array. The cell growth inhibitory effect of a lunasin/aspirin combination is achieved, at least partially, by modulating the expression of genes encoding G1 and S-phase regulatory proteins. Lunasin/aspirin therapy exerts its potent pro-apoptotic effect is at least partially achieved through modulating the extrinsic-apoptosis dependent pathway. Synergistic down-regulatory effects were observed for ERBB2, AKT1, PIK3R1, FOS and JUN signaling genes, whose amplification has been reported as being responsible for breast cancer cell growth and resistance to apoptosis. Therefore, our results suggest that a combination of these two compounds is a promising strategy to prevent/treat breast cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / administration & dosage
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Aspirin / administration & dosage
  • Aspirin / pharmacology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Female
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Soybean Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Soybean Proteins / genetics
  • Soybean Proteins / pharmacology*


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • GM2S-1 protein, soybean
  • Soybean Proteins
  • Aspirin