Differential response of two human breast cancer cell lines to the phenolic extract from flaxseed oil

Angela Sorice, Eliana Guerriero, Maria Grazia Volpe, Francesca Capone, Francesco La Cara, Gennaro Ciliberto, Giovanni Colonna, Susan Costantini, Derek J. McPhee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many studies have evidenced that the phenolic components from flaxseed (FS) oil have potential health benefits. The effect of the phenolic extract from FS oil has been evaluated on two human breast cancer cell lines, MCF7 and MDA-MB231, and on the human non-cancerous breast cell line, MCF10A, by SRB assay, cellular death, cell cycle, cell signaling, lipid peroxidation and expression of some key genes. We have evidenced that the extract shows anti-proliferative activity on MCF7 cells by inducing cellular apoptosis, increase of the percentage of cells in G0/G1 phase and of lipid peroxidation, activation of the H2AX signaling pathway, and upregulation of a six gene signature. On the other hand, on the MDA-MB2131 cells we verified only an anti-proliferative activity, a weak lipid peroxidation, the activation of the PI3K signaling pathway and an up-regulation of four genes. Overall these data suggest that the extract has both cytotoxic and pro-oxidant effects only on MCF7 cells, and can act as a metabolic probe, inducing differences in the gene expression. For this purpose, we have performed an interactomic analysis, highlighting the existing associations. From this approach, we show that the phenotypic difference between the two cell lines can be explained through their differential response to the phenolic extract.

Original languageEnglish
Article number319
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Breast cancer cell lines
  • Flaxseed
  • Gene regulation
  • Phenolic extract

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry


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