Effect of Methotrexate and Tea Polyphenols on the Viability and Oxidative Stress in MDA-MB-231 Breast Cancer Cells

Theresa Kelly, Richard Owusu-Apenten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: To determine the effect of tea polyphenols and methotrexate on viability and reactive oxygen species (ROS) in a naturally resistant breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231.Methodology: MDA-MB-231 cells were selected as a model for methotrexate resistant breast cancer. Drug tests were performed over 72 hours at concentrations 0-100 µM. Pre-treatments were with quercetin (QE) or epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) for 5 hours followed by methotrexate. Cytotoxicity was measured using the MTT assay or resazurin fluorescence assay. ROS was determined using the 2’, 7’-dichlorofluorescein diacetate assay. Intracellular GSH was measured using the monochlorobimane assay.Results: Methotrexate was cytotoxic to MDA-MB-231 cells with IC50 of 35±4 µM. The IC50 value was 68±9.4 µM with QE and 83±16 µM for EGCG. The pre-treatment with QE and EGCG lowered the IC50 for methotrexate by 28% (P =0.009) and 16% (P=0.2027). Intracellular ROS concentrations increased after treatment with methotrexate, QE or EGCG singly and ROS decreased with combination treatment compared with the response for methotrexate only. There were no significant changes in intracellular GSH. Conclusion: Pretreatment with tea polyphenols partially sensitized breast cancer cells towards methotrexate and decreases intracellular ROS. More research is needed to optimize the sensitizing effect of tea phenols on the breast cancer cell response to methotrexate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-159
JournalJournal of Applied Life Sciences International
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2015

Bibliographical note

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  • Breast cancer
  • methotrexate
  • quercetin
  • epigallocatechin gallate
  • oxidative stress
  • anticancer effect


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