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The cytotoxic effects of strawberry polyphenols were investigated on normal cells and tumour cells derived from the same patient. A human prostate epithelial cell line (P21) and two tumour cell lines (P21 tumour cell line 1 and 2) derived from the same patient, and a normal human breast epithelial cell line (B42) and a tumour line derived from it (B42 clone 16) were used. A polyphenol-rich extract derived from strawberry or anthocyanin or tannin-rich sub-fractions were applied to the cell lines in doses varying from 50 to 1.5 microg/ml. The strawberry extract was cytotoxic with doses of approximately 5 microg/ml causing a 50% reduction in cell survival in both the normal and the tumour lines. The extracts were also cytotoxic to peripheral blood human lymphocytes stimulated with phytohaemagglutinin but higher levels (>20 microg/ml for 50% reduction in cell survival) were required. After fractionation of the strawberry sample, the cytotoxicity was retained in the tannin-rich fraction and this fraction was considerably more toxic to all cells (normal or tumour cell lines or lymphocytes) than the anthocyanin-rich fraction. Established prostate (LNCaP and PC-3) and breast (MCF-7) tumour cell lines were more resistant to the strawberry extract with concentrations of 50 microg/ml required for 50% reduction in cell survival, which is similar to levels in previous studies on the antiproliferative effects of berry extracts. Although these concentrations are much greater than possible physiological levels, they are comparable to those reported in other studies. From these findings, we conclude that there is little evidence to assume that polyphenols from strawberry have a differential cytotoxic effect on tumour cells relative to comparable normal cells from the same tissue derived from the same patient.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Oncol

Publication Date





777 - 786


Breast, Breast Neoplasms, Cell Line, Tumor, Female, Flavonoids, Fragaria, Fruit, Humans, Male, Phenols, Plant Extracts, Polyphenols, Prostate, Prostatic Neoplasms