In vitro and in vivo effects of a nutrient mixture on breast cancer progression

Int J Oncol. 2014 Jun;44(6):1933-44. doi: 10.3892/ijo.2014.2379. Epub 2014 Apr 10.


Long-term survival of patients with breast cancer remains poor, due to metastasis and recurrence. We investigated the effects of a novel nutrient mixture (NM) containing ascorbic acid, lysine, proline and green tea extract in vitro and in vivo on 4T1 murine breast cancer, a representative model for metastatic breast cancer. After one week of isolation, 5-6-week-old female Balb/C mice were inoculated with 5x10⁵ 4T1 cells into the mammary pad and randomly divided into two groups; the control group was fed a regular diet and the NM group a regular diet supplemented with 0.5% NM. After four weeks, the mice were sacrificed and their tumors, lungs, livers, kidneys, hearts and spleens were excised and processed for histology. Dimensions (length and width) of tumors were measured using a digital caliper, and the tumor burden was calculated using the following formula: 0.5 x length x width. We also tested the effect of NM in vitro on 4T1 cells, measuring cell proliferation by MTT assay, MMP secretion by zymography, invasion through Matrigel, migration by scratch test and morphology by H&E staining. NM inhibited tumor weight and burden of 4T1 tumors by 50% (p=0.02) and 53.4% (p≤0.0001), respectively. Lung metastasis was profoundly inhibited by NM supplementation: mean number of colonies was reduced by 87% (p<0.0001) and mean weight of lungs by 60% (p=0.0001) compared to control mice. Metastasis to liver, spleen, kidney and heart was significantly reduced with NM supplementation. In vitro, NM exhibited 50% toxicity over the control at 250 and 500 µg/ml concentrations. Zymography demonstrated MMP-2 and MMP-9 secretion which was inhibited by NM in a dose-dependent manner, with virtual total inhibition of both at 1,000 µg/ml. Migration by scratch test and invasion through Matrigel were inhibited in a dose-dependent manner with total block of invasion at 250 and of migration at 1,000 µg/ml. These results suggest that NM has therapeutic potential in the treatment of breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diet therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / pathology*
  • Tumor Burden


  • Antineoplastic Agents