Dietary supplementation with the anti-tumour promoter quercetin: its effects on matrix metalloproteinase gene regulation.


Morrow DM, Fitzsimmons PE, Chopra M, McGlynn H.




Mutat Res


Dietary modification, especially the consumption of larger amounts of fruits and vegetables can act to decrease the risk of a variety of human cancers. Quercetin, a bioflavonoid widely distributed in fruits and vegetables has been shown to have a chemoprotective role in cancer, through complex effects on signal transduction involved in cell proliferation and angiogenesis. In this study we examined the effects of dietary supplementation of quercetin (30 mg per day) incorporated into a black currant drink. Healthy male subjects aged between 33 and 64 years (mean=47.1 years) received either quercetin or placebo for 14 days. Blood samples were taken at baseline and upon completion of the study and analysed for full blood count, matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2), tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinse-1 and -2 (TIMP-1 and -2) plasma levels using ELISA techniques. RNA was extracted from the peripheral blood lymphocytes and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) carried out for MMP-2 and TIMP-1, TIMP-2 gene expression determination. Supplementation of the diet with quercetin did not alter the MMP-2 or TIMP-2 gene transcription or plasma protein levels of the healthy subjects in this study. The TIMP-1 gene transcription and plasma protein levels (311+/-70 ng/ml at baseline to 183+/-35 ng/ml post-supplementation, P<0.05) of the subjects in this study were, however, significantly decreased following quercetin supplementation. This is an interesting result, as there is some controversy over the functions of TIMP-1 in tumour progression. In certain model systems, artificially increased TIMP-1 levels prevent or decrease tumour growth. However, in other studies high levels of TIMP-1 have been correlated with aggressive disease and poor prognosis in patients with certain malignancies. This study has outlined a potential role for the anti-tumour promoter quercetin as a dietary mediator of the carcinogenic cascade.