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International Journal of Breast Cancer
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 369609, 9 pages
Research Article

Tannic Acid Preferentially Targets Estrogen Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer

1Institute for Biological Interfaces of Engineering, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634, USA
2Department of Bioengineering, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634, USA

Received 17 July 2013; Revised 26 September 2013; Accepted 27 September 2013

Academic Editor: Claudio Luparello

Copyright © 2013 Brian W. Booth et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Research efforts investigating the potential of natural compounds in the fight against cancer are growing. Tannic acid (TA) belongs to the class of hydrolysable tannins and is found in numerous plants and foods. TA is a potent collagen cross-linking agent; the purpose of this study was to generate TA-cross-linked beads and assess the effects on breast cancer cell growth. Collagen beads were stable at body temperature following crosslinking. Exposure to collagen beads with higher levels of TA inhibited proliferation and induced apoptosis in normal and cancer cells. TA-induced apoptosis involved activation of caspase 3/7 and caspase 9 but not caspase 8. Breast cancer cells expressing the estrogen receptor were more susceptible to the effects of TA. Taken together the results suggest that TA has the potential to become an anti-ER+ breast cancer treatment or preventative agent.