Combination Effects of Polyphenols Present in Sugarcane on Proliferation in MCF-7 Human Breast Cancer Cells

Yujiao Yang, Rui Zheng, Pingling Zhang, Jing Wen, Yue Luo, Zhengang Zhao, Lijun You, Chi Tang Ho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Sugarcane is one of the most important crops in the world and rich in polyphenols. In this study, quercetin, apigenin, luteolin, tricin and p-coumaric acid, the major polyphenols in sugarcane, were used to evaluate the antiproliferative activities toward MCF-7 human breast cancer cells independently and in combination. These five polyphenols all showed inhibitory effects against MCF-7 cells within different dose ranges. The combinations of luteolin and three polyphenols (quercetin, apigenin, p-coumaric acid) were studied. p-Coumaric acid together with luteolin exhibited synergistic effects at all concentrations tested: the CI (Combination Index) values at 50%, 75% and 90% inhibition of MCF-7 cell growth were 0.68 ± 0.06, 0.70 ± 0.08 and 0.83 ± 0.09, respectively. Although the two-way combination of luteolin and apigenin showed moderate antagonistic effect (CI, 1.26 ± 0.24) at EC50, the CI value dropped as the inhibition rate increased, showing a synergistic effect at the inhibition rate above 70%. The combination of luteolin and quercetin indicated antagonistic effect at the inhibition rate above 50% (Fa0.5, CI = 1.10 ± 0.05). p-Coumaric acid with quercetin exhibited antagonistic actions (Fa0.5, CI = 1.62 ± 0.22) at all concentrations tested. In addition, the EC50 values of luteolin and quercetin against MCF-7 cells decreased by 1.91 and 2.62-fold after combining with 20 µM tricin. The results provide evidence of synergistic relation among polyphenols present in sugarcane in inhibition of cancer cell growth and of their potential clinical application.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)832-840
Number of pages9
JournalSugar Tech
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science


  • Antiproliferative activity
  • Cancer
  • Polyphenols
  • Synergistic effect


Dive into the research topics of 'Combination Effects of Polyphenols Present in Sugarcane on Proliferation in MCF-7 Human Breast Cancer Cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this