Effect of extremely low frequency electromagnetic field parameters on the proliferation of human breast cancer

Min Haw Wang, Kuan Wei Chen, Ding Xung Ni, Hao Jha Fang, Ling Sheng Jang, Chun Hong Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Extremely low-frequency electromagnetic field (ELF-EMF) exposures influence many biological systems. These effects are mainly related to the intensity, duration, frequency, and pattern of the ELF-EMF. Our intent was to characterize the effect of specific pulsed electromagnetic fields on the in vitro proliferation of MCF-7 adenocarcinoma and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell lines and one non-cancerous M10 breast epithelial cell line. The following four important parameters of ELF-EMF were examined: frequencies (7.83 ± 0.3, 23.49 ± 0.3, and 39.15 ± 0.3 Hz), flux density (0.5 and 1 mT), exposure duration (12, 24, and 48 h), and the exposure methodology (continuous exposure versus switching exposure). The viability of MDA-MB-231 cells exposed to the optimized ELF-EMF pattern (7.83 ± 0.3 Hz, 1 mT, and 6 h switching exposure) was 40.1%. By contrast, the optimized ELF-EMF parameters that were most cytotoxic to breast cancer MDA-MB-231 cells were not damaging to normal M10 cells. In vitro studies also showed that exposure of MDA-MB-231 cells to the optimized ELF-EMF pattern promoted Ca2+ influx and resulted in apoptosis. These data confirm that exposure to this specific ELF-EMF pattern can influence cellular processes and inhibit cancer cell growth. The specific ELF-EMF pattern determined in this study may provide a potential anti-cancer treatment in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)384-392
Number of pages9
JournalElectromagnetic Biology and Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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