Growth inhibition and induction of apoptosis in MCF-7 breast cancer cells by fermented soy milk

Wen Huei Chang, Jun Jen Liu, Ching Hsein Chen, Tien Shang Huang, Fung Jou Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of a fermented soy milk product (FSP) on various human breast carcinoma cell lines was investigated, and it was shown to have a growth-inhibitory effect, especially on MCF-7 cells. Thus the MCF-7 cell line was used to study the mechanism of action. In female severe combined immune deficiency mice implanted with MCF-7 cells, pretreatment with FSP significantly inhibited tumor growth. The inhibitory effect of FSP on MCF- 7 cells seemed to be caused by the additive effects of a wide variety of constituents. The active components of FSP are mainly in the water phase, and the lipid-soluble fraction, which includes the soy isoflavones such as genistein and daidzein, is relatively ineffective. A variety of methods were used to demonstrate that FSP caused apoptotic cell death in MCF-7 cells. FSP induced generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Growth inhibition and ROS generation induced by FSP could be inhibited by catalase and deferoxamine, indicating that the ROS production probably was the cause of this apoptotic cell death. This study suggests that FSP retards tumor growth in vivo and can trigger apoptosis in vitro. It may, therefore, be a potential nutritional supplement in chemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-226
Number of pages13
JournalNutrition and Cancer
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Oncology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Cancer Research


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