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Morphological transformation of C3H/M2 mouse fibroblasts by, and genotoxicity of, extracts of human milk.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


  • Wolfgang Pfau
  • Francis L. Martin
  • Kathleen J. Cole
  • Gillian Weaver
  • Hans Marquardt
  • David H. Phillips
  • Philip L. Grover
Journal publication date15/11/2001
JournalMutation Research/Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis
Number of pages11
Original languageEnglish


Breast cancer may be initiated by environmental/dietary agents and human milk may act as an ex vivo indicator of in vivo exposure of mammary epithelial cells to genotoxins. Extracts of human milk from UK-resident women (n=7) were tested for their abilities to morphologically transform C3H/M2 mouse fibroblasts. Genotoxicities were assessed in the Salmonella typhimurium reverse-mutation assay in the presence of S9 using strains TA1538 and YG1019, and in metabolically-competent human MCL-5 cells with the micronucleus and with the alkaline single cell gel electrophoresis (comet) assays. Two of the seven extracts were inactive in the transformation assay both in the presence or absence of S9, two appeared to be equally transforming either in the presence or absence of S9, and two other extracts induced increased transformation frequencies in the presence of S9. A seventh extract, tested only in the absence of S9, was inactive. Extracts were either active or inactive in at least three of the four tests applied. Four extracts were active or inactive in all four tests. The results suggest that human milk could be used as a resource for investigations of the as-yet-unidentified transforming agents previously detected in mammary lipid.