Seaweed prevents breast cancer?

Hiroomi Funahashi, Tsuneo Imai, Takahiro Mase, Masanori Sekiya, Kazuki Yokoi, Hiromichi Hayashi, Arihiro Shibata, Takako Hayashi, Mikiko Nishikawa, Namiko Suda, Yatsuka Hibi, Yutaka Mizuno, Kyosuke Tsukamura, Akemi Hayakawa, Seiichi Tanuma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Citations (Scopus)


To investigate the chemopreventive effects of seaweed on breast cancer, we have been studying the relationship between iodine and breast cancer. We found earlier that the seaweed, wakame, showed a suppressive effect on the proliferation of DMBA (dimethylbenz(a)anthracene)-induced rat mammary tumors, possibly via apoptosis induction. In the present study, powdered mekabu was placed in distilled water, and left to stand for 24 h at 4°C. The filtered supernatant was used as mekabu solution. It showed an extremely strong suppressive effect on rat mammary carcinogenesis when used in daily drinking water, without toxicity. In vitro, mekabu solution strongly induced apoptosis in 3 kinds of human breast cancer cells. These effects were stronger than those of a chemotherapeutic agent widely used to treat human breast cancer. Furthermore, no apoptosis induction was observed in normal human mammary cells. In Japan, mekabu is widely consumed as a safe, inexpensive food. Our results suggest that mekabu has potential for chemoprevention of human breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-487
Number of pages5
JournalJapanese Journal of Cancer Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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