The Effects of Vitamins on MCF-7 Breast Cancer Cells
Authors:Samantha Cano, Cindy Green, Melissa Jimenez, Michelle Mai
Mentor:Luiza Nogaj, Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences, Mount St. Mary's College
Vitamins play an important role in our health. They come from the food we consume as well as supplemental pills we take. Vitamins function in maintaining our health by aiding metabolism, protecting the skin against UV rays and other parts of the body, stabilizing the immune system, and are involved in protein and DNA synthesis. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the effects of vitamins on cancer cells. Vitamin D, a steroid hormone made in the human skin and found in dietary sources, has been shown to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells. In the scientific field there have been questions of whether vitamins will benefit or deter the growth of cancer cells and how the vitamins would target the cancer cells. These studies may have significant implications for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. We hypothesize the application of vitamins will have either a positive or negative effect on the proliferation of MCF-7 cancer cells. Vitamins A, B12, C, D, E, PABA, Thiamine, and DHEA were added in single applications to MCF-7 cells in concentrations of 20, 100, and 200 μM and incubated for 24 to 48 hours. The effect of the vitamins on the growth of the cancer cells was observed using MTT assay, to visualize the viability of the cells, and quantified by spectrometer scanning. The results showed the addition of vitamin D resulted in a significant decrease in the proliferation of the MCF-7 cancer cells (p value 0.02). Vitamin B12, Thiamine, and DHEA increased cell proliferation while the other vitamins had no significant effect. Future studies will be directed in finding a biochemical pathway in which the vitamin D affects the growth and aggressiveness of the cells.