Chemoprevention of rat mammary carcinogenesis by spirulina

Allal Ouhtit*, Mohammed F. Ismail, Amira Othman, Augusta Fernando, Mohamed E. Abdraboh, Attalla F. El-Kott, Yahia A. Azab, Sherif H. Abdeen, Rajiv L. Gaur, Ishita Gupta, Somya Shanmuganathan, Yahya M. Al-Farsi, Hamad Al-Riyami, Madhwa H.G. Raj

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (SciVal)


Spirulina (SP) (Arthrospira platensis; previously Spirulina platensis) is a filamentous blue-green microalga (cyanobacterium) with potent dietary phytoantioxidant and anticancerous properties. We investigated the chemopreventive effect of SP against 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA)-induced rat breast carcinogenesis, and further studied its underlying mechanisms of action in vitro. Remarkably, SP cleared DMBA-induced rat mammary tumors, which was clearly confirmed by morphological and histological methods. SP supplementation reduced the incidence of breast tumors from 87% to 13%. At the molecular level, immunohistochemical analysis revealed that SP supplementation reduced expression of both Ki-67 and estrogen α. More interestingly, molecular analysis in the in vitro experiments indicated that SP treatment inhibited cell proliferation by 24 hours, which was accompanied by increased p53 expression, followed by increased expression of its downstream target gene, Cdkn1a (alias p21 or p21Waf1/Cip1). In addition, SP increased Bax and decreased Bcl-2 expression, indicating induction of apoptosis by 48 hours after SP treatment. To our knowledge, this is the first report of in vivo chemopreventive effect of SP against DMBA-induced breast carcinogenesis in rat, supporting its potential use in chemoprevention of cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-303
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Chemoprevention of rat mammary carcinogenesis by spirulina'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this