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This article is part of the supplement: Twelfth International Conference on Bioinformatics (InCoB2013): Computational Biology

Open Access Research

Coffee component hydroxyl hydroquinone (HHQ) as a putative ligand for PPAR gamma and implications in breast cancer

Babita Shashni1, Karun Sharma1, Rumani Singh2, Kishore R Sakharkar3, Sarinder K Dhillon4, Yukio Nagasaki567 and Meena K Sakharkar189*

Author Affiliations

1 Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan

2 AIST, Tsukuba, Japan

3 OmicsVista, Singapore

4 Institute of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, University Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

5 Department of Materials Sciences, Graduate School of Pure and Applied Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan

6 Master's School of Medical Sciences, Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan

7 Satellite Laboratory, International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (WPI-MANA), National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), University of Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan

8 Department of Biotechnology, University of Pune, Pune, India

9 Drug Discovery and Development Research Group, College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada

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BMC Genomics 2013, 14(Suppl 5):S6  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-S5-S6

Published: 16 October 2013



Coffee contains several compounds that have the potential to influence breast cancer risk and survival. However, epidemiologic data on the relation between coffee compounds and breast cancer survival are sparse and inconsistent.


We show that coffee component HHQ has significant apoptotic effect on MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 cells in vitro, and that ROS generation, change in mitochondrial membrane permeability, upregulation of Bax and Caspase-8 as well as down regulation of PGK1 and PKM2 expression may be important apoptosis-inducing mechanisms. The results suggest that PPARĪ³ ligands may serve as potential therapeutic agents for breast cancer therapy. HHQ was also validated as a ligand for PPARĪ³ by docking procedure.


This is the first report on the anti-breast cancer (in vitro) activity of HHQ.