Ebenezer Chitra

Ebenezer Chitra

Institute of Medical Research, Malaysia

Title: Lactoferricin B peptide kills breast cancer cells in vitro: Potential for therapy


Dr. Ebenezer Chitra completed her Ph.D. from National Institute of Immunology, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. She did her post-doctoral fellowship in National Health Research Institutes, Taiwan working on cell signaling in cancer. Currently, she is a faculty in the School of Medicine in International Medical University. Her research interest is in cancer biology. 


Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women and is currently treated by surgery and a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Lactoferricin B (Lfcin B) is a 25-mer natural peptide obtained from milk protein lactoferrin and is capable of inducing apoptosis in cancer cell lines. The effect of Lfcin B in breast cancer cell lines has not been tested so far. In this study, the effects of  Lfcin B peptide was tested on a panel of breast cancer cell lines comprising of MCF 7 (Luminal A type expressing estrogen receptor and progesterone receptor; triple negative), MDA-MB-231 (claudin low type; triple negative), SKBR3 (overexpressing HER2) and MDA-MB-468 (basal type). The mammary epithelial cell line, MCF-10a was used as a normal control. Lfcin B was dissolved in plain medium and the cells were treated with various concentrations of the peptide (100 µg/ml to 300 µg/ml) to study its effect on proliferation, cell migration and apoptosis. Apoptosis was studied by flow cytometry of annexin-PI stained cells and western blot while changes in the gene expression induced by Lfcin B was analyzed by quantitative RT-PCR. Lfcin B peptide induced significantly more apoptosis in all the breast cancer cell lines studied compared to normal breast epithelial cells. The peptide suppressed cell migration in the invasive cell lines MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-468. Our studies suggest a potential for Lfcin B to be developed for breast cancer therapy.