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Ineffectiveness of American Ginseng in the Prevention of Dimethylbenzanthracene-Induced Mammary Tumors in Mice

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The potential of American ginseng (AG) ( Panax quinquefolium), a commonly used herbal remedy believed to have anticarcinogenic effects, to prevent the development of mammary tumors was evaluated in a mouse model of dimethylbenzanthracene (DMBA)-induced mammary carcinoma. Ginsenosides, believed to be the active components of ginseng and that have a chemical structure similar to estradiol, have previously been shown to possess phytoestrogen-like qualities similar to the soy isoflavone genistein. The effects of AG, administered as powdered root, were compared to the selective estrogen receptor modulators tamoxifen and ospemifene. Eighty-three female SENCAR mice were divided into four treatment groups: control (N = 23), AG (N = 20), ospemifene (N = 20), and tamoxifen (N = 20). American ginseng, ospemifene, and tamoxifen were administered at a dose of 50 mg/kg/day orally by gavage, with the control mice receiving vehicle only. For the first 6 weeks, all mice received 20 g/day DMBA in combination with their respective treatments. DMBA was then withdrawn, and daily treatments continued for a total of approximately 52 weeks. As expected, ospemifene (p = 0.01) and tamoxifen (p = 0.004) significantly reduced the incidence of mammary tumors compared to the control mice, which had a mammary tumor incidence of approximately 57%. The incidence of mammary carcinomas in the AG group was 40%, a reduction of approximately 29% compared to control. These results suggest that AG may still have the potential to prevent the development of mammary tumors in a chemically induced breast cancer mouse model, although the present study showed no significant difference between control and AG-treated mice.
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Keywords: American ginseng; Breast cancer; Dimethylbenzanthracene (DMBA); Ospemifene; Selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM); Tamoxifen

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Hematology and Oncology, Cancer Center, The University of California, Davis, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA

Publication date: 2006-06-01

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