Comparative Evaluation of Silibinin Effects on Cell Cycling and Apoptosis in Human Breast Cancer MCF-7 and T47D Cell Lines


Department of Cellular and Molecular Biology, School of Biology, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


Silibinin is a natural polyphenol with high antioxidant and anticancer properties. In this study, its influence on two of the most commonly employed human breast cancer cell lines, MCF-7 and T47D, and one non-malignant MCF-10A cell line, were investigated and compared. Cell viability, the cell cycle distribution and apoptosis induction were analyzed by MTT and flow cytometry, respectively. The effect of silibinin on PTEN, Bcl-2, P21, and P27 mRNAs expression was also investigated by real-time RT-PCR. It was found that silibinin caused G1 cell cycle arrest in MCF-7 and MCF-10A cells but had no effect on the T47D cell cycle. Silibinin induced cytotoxic and apoptotic effects in T47D cells more than the MCF-7 cells and had no cytotoxic effect in MCF-10A cells under the same conditions. Silibinin upregulated PTEN in MCF-7 and caused slightly increased P21 mRNA expression in T47D cells and slightly increased PTEN and P21 expression in MCF-10A cells. Bcl-2 expression decreased in all of the examined cells under silibinin treatment. P27 mRNA expression upregulated in T47D and MCF-10A cells under silibinin treatment. PTEN mRNA in T47D and P21 and P27 mRNAsin MCF-7 were not affected by silibinin. These results suggest that silibinin has mostly different inhibitory effects in breast cancer cells and might be an effective anticancer agent for some cells linked to influence on cell cycle progression.