Effects of Phytoestrogen Extracts Isolated from Pumpkin Seeds on Estradiol Production and ER/PR Expression in Breast Cancer and Trophoblast Tumor Cells.

Richter D, Abarzua S, Chrobak M, Vrekoussis T, et al. Nutr Cancer. 2013 Jul;65(5):739-45. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2013.797000.

Phytoestrogens have a controversial effect on hormone-dependent tumours. Herein, we investigated the effect of the pumpkin seed extract (PSE) on estradiol production and estrogen receptor (ER)-α/ER-β/progesterone receptor (PR) status on MCF7, Jeg3, and BeWo cells. The PSE was prepared and analyzed by mass spectrometry. MCF7, Jeg3, and BeWo cells were incubated with various concentrations of PSE. Untreated cells served as controls. Supernatants were tested for estradiol production with an ELISA method. Furthermore, the effect of the PSE on ER-?/ER-?/PR expression was assessed by immunocytochemistry. The PSE was found to contain both lignans and flavones. Estradiol production was elevated in MCF7, BeWo, and Jeg3 cells in a concentration-dependent manner. In MCF7 cells, a significant ER-? downregulation and a significant PR upregulation were observed. The above results after properly designed animal studies could highlight a potential role of pumpkin seed's lignans in breast cancer prevention and/or treatment.

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