The present study was designed to evaluate the efficacy of wild yam root extract (WYRE) as a potential demethylating agent using two breast cancer cell lines, MCF-7 (estrogen receptor positive; ER(+)) and MDA-MB-231 (Estrogen receptor negative; ER(-)), and a methylated gene, GATA3, as a potential marker of breast cancer development. The cells were treated with WYRE (0-50 μg/mL) for 72 h and used for viability, mRNA, and methylation analyses. WYRE significantly reduced viability of both cell lines and enhanced mRNA content of GATA3 in a concentration-dependent manner; however, DNMT mRNAs (DNMT1, 3A, 3B) were found to increase significantly only in MDA-MB-231 cells. Global DNA methylation, analyzed as 5'-methyl-2'-deoxycytidine (5-mC) and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5-hmC), showed a concentration-dependent enhancement of 5-mC with no alteration in 5-hmC level in MCF-7 cells; however, in MDA-MB-231 cells, in contrast to MCF-7 cells, 5-mC remained unaltered but 5-hmC reduced significantly in all WYRE concentrations (10-50 μg/mL) used in this study. Since 5-hmC is generated from 5-mC by ten-eleven-translocation (TET) enzymes, analysis of TET mRNAs (TET1, TET2, and TET3) in MDA-MB-231 cells indicated a concentration-dependent reduction in TET1 and induction of TET3; however, TET2 remained unaltered. No alterations in any of the TET mRNAs were found in MCF-7 cells. Methylation analysis of GATA3 promoter at specific locus indicates probable demethylating activity of WYRE in MDA-MB-231 cells. We conclude that activation of GATA3 gene in ER(-) MDA-MB-231 cells may occur by altering DNA methylation pattern on the promoter region which may be different from the mechanisms operated in ER(+) MCF-7 cells.