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Open Access Research article

Effects of Ginkgo biloba on chemically-induced mammary tumors in rats receiving tamoxifen

Marcos Correa Dias1, Kelly Silva Furtado1, Maria Aparecida Marchesan Rodrigues2 and Luís Fernando Barbisan3*

Author affiliations

1 Post-Graduation Program in Pathology, School of Medicine, UNESP - Univ Estadual Paulista, Botucatu, SP 18618-970, Brazil

2 Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, UNESP - Univ Estadual Paulista, Botucatu, SP, 18618-970, Brazil

3 Department of Morphology, UNESP - Univ Estadual Paulista, Institute of Biosciences, Botucatu, SP, 18618-970, Brazil

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Citation and License

BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013, 13:93  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-93

Published: 1 May 2013

Abstract

Background

Ginkgo biloba extract (GbE) is used extensively by breast cancer patients undergoing treatment with Tamoxifen (TAM). Thus, the present study investigated the effects of GbE in female Sprague–Dawley (SD) rats bearing chemically-induced mammary tumors and receiving TAM.

Methods

Animals bearing mammary tumors (≥1 cm in diameter) were divided into four groups: TAM [10 mg/kg, intragastrically (i.g.)], TAM plus GbE [50 and 100 mg/kg, intraperitoneally (i.p.)] or an untreated control group. After 4 weeks, the therapeutic efficacy of the different treatments was evaluated by measuring the tumor volume (cm3) and the proportions of each tumor that were alive, necrotic or degenerative (mm2). In addition, labeling indexes (LI%) were calculated for cell proliferation (PCNA LI%) and apoptosis (cleaved caspase-3 LI%), expression of estrogen receptor-alpha (ER-α) and p63 biomarkers.

Results

Overall, the tumor volume and the PCNA LI% within live tumor areas were reduced by 83% and 99%, respectively, in all TAM-treated groups when compared to the untreated control group. GbE treatment (100 mg/kg) reduced the proportions of live (24.8%) and necrotic areas (2.9%) (p = 0.046 and p = 0.038, respectively) and significantly increased the proportion of degenerative areas (72.9%) (p = 0.004) in mammary tumors when compared to the group treated only with TAM. The expression of ER-α, p63 and cleaved caspase-3 in live tumor tissues was not modified by GbE treatment.

Conclusions

Co-treatment with 100 mg/kg GbE presented a slightly beneficial effect on the therapeutic efficacy of TAM in female SD rats bearing mammary tumors.

Keywords:
Tamoxifen; Selective estrogen receptor modulator; Complementary and alternative medicine; Rat; Mammary carcinogenesis