Effect of sesamin on apoptosis and cell cycle arrest in human breast cancer mcf-7 cells

Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2015;16(9):3779-83. doi: 10.7314/apjcp.2015.16.9.3779.


Dietary prevention has been known to reduce breast cancer risk. Sesamin is one of the major components in sesame seeds and has been widely studied and proven to have anti-proliferation and anti-angiogenic effects on cancer cells. In this study, the influence of sesamin was tested in the human breast cancer MCF-7 cell line for cell viability (MTT assay) and cell cycling (flow cytometry). Results showed that sesamin dose-dependently (1, 10 and 50 μM) reduced the cell viability and increased LDH release and apoptosis (TUNEL assay). In addition, there was a significant increase of sub-G1 phase arrest in the cell cycle after sesamin treatment. Furthermore, sesamin increased the expression of apoptotic markers of Bax, caspase-3, and cell cycle control proteins, p53 and checkpoint kinase 2. Taken together, these results suggested that sesamin might be used as a dietary supplement for prevention of breast cancer by modulating apoptotic signal pathways and inhibiting tumor cell growth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Cycle Checkpoints / drug effects*
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Checkpoint Kinase 2 / metabolism
  • Dioxoles / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lignans / pharmacology*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antioxidants
  • Dioxoles
  • Lignans
  • Checkpoint Kinase 2
  • CHEK2 protein, human
  • sesamin