In vitro and in vivo evaluation of anticancer actions of natural and synthetic vitamin e forms

Weiping Yu, Li Jia, Pei Wang, Karla A. Lawson, Marla Simmons-Menchaca, Sook Kyung Park, Lu Zhe Sun, Bob G. Sanders, Kimberly Kline

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The goal of these studies was to investigate the potential anticancer properties of two naturally occurring plant sources and two manufactured synthetic forms of vitamin E, i. e., RRR-α-tocopherol (αT), RRR-γ-tocopherol (γT), all-rac-α-tocopherol (all-rac-αT), and all-rac-α-tocopheryl acetate (all-rac-αTAc) in breast cancer models. Vitamin E compounds were evaluated in vitro for inhibition of colony formation and induction of apoptosis in human MDA-MB-435 and MCF-7 breast cancer cells and murine 66cl-4 mammary cancer cells and in vivo for ability to reduce tumor growth and lung and lymph node metastases using the transplantable syngeneic BALB/c mouse 66cl-4-GFP mammary cancer model. γT inhibited colony formation and induced apoptosis in all three cancer cell lines. αT and all-rac-αT were less effective and all-rac-αTAc was ineffective. γT-induced apoptosis was correlated with activation of caspases-8 and -9 and down-regulation of protein expression of c-FLIP and survivin. In vivo study 1 analyses showed that all-rac-aT and all-rac-aTAc significantly inhibited tumor growth and inhibited both visible and microscopic size lung metastases. In vivo study 2 analyses showed that αT and γT reduced tumor growth, but only γT reduced tumor growth significantly in comparison to control. In conclusion, synthetic, but not natural, vitamin E exhibits promising anticancer properties in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)447-456
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Nutrition and Food Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2008


  • Anticancer actions
  • Apoptosis
  • Human breast cancer
  • Natural vitamin E
  • Synthetic vitamin E

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Biotechnology


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