Piperine inhibits the growth and motility of triple-negative breast cancer cells

Cancer Lett. 2015 Feb 1;357(1):129-140. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2014.11.017. Epub 2014 Nov 13.


Piperine, an alkaloid from black pepper, is reported to have anticancer activities. In this study, we investigated the effect of piperine on the growth and motility of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) cells. Piperine inhibited the in vitro growth of TNBC cells, as well as hormone-dependent breast cancer cells, without affecting normal mammary epithelial cell growth. Exposure to piperine decreased the percentage of TNBC cells in the G2 phase of the cell cycle. In addition, G1- and G2-associated protein expression was decreased and p21(Waf1/Cip1) expression was increased in piperine-treated TNBC cells. Piperine also inhibited survival-promoting Akt activation in TNBC cells and caused caspase-dependent apoptosis via the mitochondrial pathway. Interestingly, combined treatment with piperine and γ radiation was more cytotoxic for TNBC cells than γ radiation alone. The in vitro migration of piperine-treated TNBC cells was impaired and expression of matrix metalloproteinase-2 and -9 mRNA was decreased, suggesting an antimetastatic effect by piperine. Finally, intratumoral administration of piperine inhibited the growth of TNBC xenografts in immune-deficient mice. Taken together, these findings suggest that piperine may be useful in the treatment of TNBC.

Keywords: Apoptosis; Breast cancer; Metastasis; Piperine; Xenograft.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Benzodioxoles / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • MCF-7 Cells
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred NOD
  • Mice, SCID
  • Piperidines / pharmacology*
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides / pharmacology*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • Alkaloids
  • Benzodioxoles
  • Piperidines
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides
  • piperine