Evaluating anticancer and immunomodulatory effects of spirulina (Arthrospira) platensis and gamma-tocotrienol supplementation in a syngeneic mouse model of breast cancer

Hemavathy Subramaiam, Wan Loy Chu, Ammu Kutty Radhakrishnan, Srikumar Chakravarthi, Kanga Rani Selvaduray, Yih Yih Kok

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Nutrition can modulate host immune responses as well as promote anticancer effects. In this study, two nutritional supplements, namely gamma-tocotrienol (γT3) and Spirulina, were evaluated for their immune-enhancing and anticancer effects in a syngeneic mouse model of breast cancer (BC). Five-week-old female BALB/c mice were fed Spirulina, γT3, or a combination of Spirulina and γT3 (Spirulina + γT3) for 56 days. The mice were inoculated with 4T1 cells into their mammary fat pad on day 28 to induce BC. The animals were culled on day 56 for various analyses. A significant reduction (p < 0.05) in tumor volume was only observed on day 37 and 49 in animals fed with the combination of γT3 + Spirulina. There was a marked increase (p < 0.05) of CD4/CD127+ T-cells and decrease (p < 0.05) of T-regulatory cells in peripheral blood from mice fed with either γT3 or Spirulina. The breast tissue of the combined group showed abundant areas of necrosis, but did not prevent metastasis to the liver. Although there was a significant increase (p < 0.05) of MIG-6 and Cadherin 13 expression in tumors from γT3-fed animals, there were no significant (p > 0.05) differences in the expression of MIG-6, Cadherin 13, BIRC5, and Serpine1 upon combined feeding. This showed that combined γT3 + Spirulina treatment did not show any synergistic anticancer effects in this study model.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2320
Number of pages15
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2021


  • Breast cancer
  • Immunomodulatory
  • Metastasis
  • Spirulina
  • Synergistic
  • Tocotrienol

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