Trans-Resveratrol Alters Mammary Promoter Hypermethylation in Women at Increased Risk for Breast Cancer Academic Article uri icon


  • Trans-resveratrol, present in high concentration in the skin of red grapes and red wine, has a dose-dependent antiproliferative effect in vitro, prevents the formation of mammary tumors, and has been touted as a chemopreventive agent. Based upon in vitro studies demonstrating that trans-resveratrol downregulates the expression of 1) DNA methyltransferases and 2) the cancer promoting prostaglandin (PG)E(2), we determined if trans-resveratrol had a dose-related effect on DNA methylation and prostaglandin expression in humans. Thirty-nine adult women at increased breast cancer risk were randomized in double-blind fashion to placebo, 5 or 50 mg trans-resveratrol twice daily for 12 wk. Methylation assessment of 4 cancer-related genes (p16, RASSF-1α, APC, CCND2) was performed on mammary ductoscopy specimens. The predominant resveratrol species in serum was the glucuronide metabolite. Total trans-resveratrol and glucuronide metabolite serum levels increased after consuming both trans-resveratrol doses (P < .001 for both). RASSF-1α methylation decreased with increasing levels of serum trans-resveratrol (P = .047). The change in RASSF-1α methylation was directly related to the change in PGE(2) (P = .045). This work provides novel insights into the effects of trans-resveratrol on the breast of women at increased breast cancer risk, including a decrease in methylation of the tumor suppressor gene RASSF-1α. Because of the limited sample size, our findings should be validated in a larger study.

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhu, W., Qin, W., Zhang, K. e., Rottinghaus, G. E., Chen, Y., Kliethermes, B., & Sauter, E. R.

citation count

  • 113

publication date

  • February 2012