Ineffectiveness of American ginseng in the prevention of dimethylbenzanthracene-induced mammary tumors in mice

Gregory T. Wurz, Cristina Marchisano-Karpman, Michael W. DeGregorio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


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 μg/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 DMBA was then withdrawn, and daily treatments continued for a total of approximately 52 weeks.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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-260
Number of pages10
JournalOncology Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2006


  • American ginseng
  • Breast cancer
  • Dimethylbenzanthracene (DMBA)
  • Ospemifene
  • Selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM)
  • Tamoxifen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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