Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-9-2020

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Chemistry and Biochemistry

First Advisor

Yu-Dong Zhou

Second Advisor

Dale G. Nagle

Third Advisor

Hoang V. Le

Relational Format



Breast cancer is a multifaceted, complex disease that affects hundreds of thousands of patients every year. Although there has a been a decline in the mortality rate of this disease, it is still vital to investigate and discover new possible treatments. One area of research involves the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in cancer cells and the possibility of ROS-induced apoptosis. Antioxidants such as Vitamin C and Vitamin E have been shown to serve as pro-oxidants. Instead of detoxifying the cell from damaging ROS, these compounds can stimulate ROS production, triggering an apoptotic cascade in the cell. In this study, Vitamin C and Vitamin E at varying concentrations were applied to four different cell lines, MCF-7, BOM-1883, MDA-MB-231, and MCF-7-BOM. After the cells were treated, an SRB assay was performed in order to determine the cell viability. The effects of hypoxia (low oxygen tension) on cancer cells was also studied in this research. The results showed that MCF-7 cells were most susceptible to Vitamin C treatment. Findings also showed that a hypoxic environment deceased cell proliferation relative to normoxic control. The effects of Vitamin E were insignificant, which is consistent with researched literature. However, the findings for Vitamin C were of more interest because there have been several studies that have shown the positive effects of Vitamin C as a pro-oxidant rather than an antioxidant in cancer cells.

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