Research: TURLEY and colleagues, La

Listed in Issue 23


TURLEY and colleagues, Laboratory of Leukocyte Biology, Division of Basic Sciences, National Cancer Institute, Frederick, Maryland 21702 USA studied the growth and apoptosis of oestrogen receptor-negative human breast cancer cells by vitamin E succinate (VES).




VES, a derivative of the fat-soluble vitamin D-alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E), inhibited growth and induced apoptosis in oestrogen receptor-negative human breast cancer cells, through a Fas (a protein recognition/ signalling) pathway. Total protein levels of the Fas receptor and the Fas ligand were increased following VES treatment. Also, VES increased cell surface Fas expression. Fas-neutralising antibodies and Fas-L antisense oligonucleotides blocked VES-induced apoptosis. Fas-L antisense oligonucleotides also completely blocked the VES-mediated increase in Fas-L protein expression.


These results demonstrate a role for Fas signaling in VES-mediated apoptosis of human breast cancer cells. The results also suggest that VES may be of clinical benefit in the treatment of aggressive human breast cancers, particularly those refractory to antioestrogen therapy.


Turley JM et al. Vitamin E succinate induces Fas-mediated apoptosis in estrogen receptor-negative human breast cancer cells. Cancer Res 57(5): 881-90. Mar 1 1997.


The above two studies illustrate that vitamin E is active at the molecular genetic level in the inhibition or apoptosis of human breast cancer cells.

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