Chemopreventive effects of heat-processed Panax quinquefolius root on human breast cancer cells

Chong Zhi Wang, Han H. Aung, Bin Zhang, Shi Sun, Xiao Li Li, Hui He, Jing Tian Xie, Tong Chuan He, Wei Du, Chun Su Yuan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Background: Former studies have shown that extract from American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) may possess certain antiproliferative effects on cancer cells. In this study, the chemical constituents of both untreated and heat-processed American ginseng and their antiproliferative activities on human breast cancer cells were evaluated. Materials and Methods: American ginseng roots were steamed at 120°C for 1 h or 2 h. The major ginsenosides in the two steamed and in the unsteamed extracts were quantitatively determined using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The antiproliferative activities of these extracts and individual ginsenosides on MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells were assayed using the MTS method. The effects of the extracts and the ginsenosides on the induction of cell apoptosis, the expression of cyclins A and D1, and cell cycle arrest were evaluated. Results: Compared to the untreated extract, heat-processing reduced the content of ginsenosides RbI, Re, Rc and Rd, and increased the content of Rg2 and Rg3. After 2 h steaming, the percent content of ginsenoside Rg3 was increased from 0.06% to 5.9%. Compared to the unsteamed extract, the 2 h steamed extract significantly increased the antiproliferative activity and significantly reduced the number of viable cells. The steamed extract also significantly reduced the expression of cyclin A and cyclin D1. The cell cycle assay showed that the steamed extract and ginsenoside Rg3 arrested cancer cells in G1-phase. Conclusion: Heat-processing of American ginseng root significantly increases antiproliferative activity and influences the cell cycle profile.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2545-2551
Number of pages7
JournalAnticancer research
Issue number5 A
StatePublished - Sep 2008


  • Antiproliferation
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell cycle
  • Ginsenoside Rg3
  • HPLC analysis
  • Heat-processing
  • Human breast cancer
  • Panax quinquefolius L.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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