The natural isoflavone Biochanin-A synergizes 5-fluorouracil anticancer activity in vitro and in vivo in Ehrlich solid-phase carcinoma model

Fifth Author's Department

Biology Department

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Phytotherapy research : PTR

Publication Date





Isoflavones are considered one of the most extensively studied plant-derived phytoestrogenic compounds. Of these, Biochanin A (Bio-A), a natural isoflavone abundant in cabbage, alfalfa, and red clover, has drawn a lot of attention. As reported in multiple studies, Bio-A possesses a promising anticancer activity against estrogen receptor-positive (ER+)  breast cancer. The current study investigated the working hypothesis that Bio-A could synergistically enhance the potency of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in ER+ breast cancer. The hypothesis was tested both in vitro on hormone receptor-positive (MCF-7) and triple-negative breast cancer cells (MDA-MB231). Additionally, in vivo studies were performed in the Ehrlich solid-phase carcinoma mouse model. The in vitro cytotoxicity studies revealed that Bio-A synergistically increased the potency of 5-FU in both MCF-7 and MDA-MB231 cell lines. The synergistic effect of 5-FU/Bio-A combination was verified in vivo. The combination therapy (where 5-FU was used at one fourth its full dose) led to a significant 75% reduction in tumor volume after two treatment cycles. This was in addition to producing a significant 2.1-fold increase in tumor necrosis area% compared to mock-treated control. In conclusion, the current study presents the first preclinical evidence for the potential merit of 5-FU/Bio-A combination for the treatment of ER+ breast cancer. The synergistic antitumor effect of Bio-A/ 5-FU combination can be, at least partly, attributed to Bio-A-mediated suppression of ER-α/Akt axis and the augmentation of 5-FU-mediated proapoptotic effects. © 2022 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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