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William J. Gradishar, MD, FACP, FASCO


Compound From Cardamom Spice Under Study in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

By: Victoria Kuhr, BA
Posted: Thursday, April 21, 2022

Patricia Mendonca, PhD, of Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, and colleagues found that cardamonin—a natural compound found in the spice cardamom and other plants—may have therapeutic potential to decrease the levels of PD-L1 in the tumor microenvironment of triple-negative breast cancer. Additionally, study authors reported cardamonin treatment also caused a dose-dependent decrease in cell viability in two triple-negative cell lines. These research findings, which also suggest difference in the tumor microenvironment between Black and White individuals, were presented at the American Society for Investigative Pathology Annual Meeting during the Experimental Biology (EB) 2022 meeting in Philadelphia (Abstract 163.2).

“It has been challenging to develop a targeted therapy for triple-negative breast cancer that is safe and effective at the same time,” said Dr. Mendonca in a press release from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. “Our research shows that cardamonin holds potential for improving cancer therapy without as many side effects as other chemotherapeutic agents.”

The study included cytotoxicity assays, human B7H1/PD-L1 enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA), and real time–polymerase chain reaction assays. The study authors used two genetically different triple-negative breast cancer cell lines—one derived from women with African American (Black) ancestry and the other from women of European origin (White).

Use of cardamonin caused a dose-dependent decrease in cell viability in both triple-negative breast cancer cell lines in concentrations ranging from 3.12 µM to 200 µM. ELISA data showed low levels of PD-L1 expression in both cell lines. Cardamonin downregulated PD-L1 expression in MDA-MB-231 cells in the presence or absence of interferon-gamma, with a greater effect noticed after the cells were stimulated. In MDA-MB-468 cells, cardamonin upregulated the expression of PD-L1. The data showed that cardamonin may alter the production of PD-L1 at the transcription level in MDA-MB-231 triple-negative breast cancer cells, but not in MDA-MB-468 cells.

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