Article Publish Status: FREE
Abstract Title:

Thymoquinone anticancer activity is enhanced when combined with royal jelly in human breast cancer.

Abstract Source:

World J Clin Oncol. 2021 May 24 ;12(5):342-354. PMID: 34131566

Abstract Author(s):

Maya M Moubarak, Nour Chanouha, Najwa Abou Ibrahim, Hala Khalife, Hala Gali-Muhtasib

Article Affiliation:

Maya M Moubarak


BACKGROUND: Breast cancer is the most common cause of the majority of cancer-related deaths in women, among which triple-negative breast cancer is the most aggressive type of breast cancer diagnosed with limited treatment options. Thymoquinone (TQ), the main bioactive constituent of, has been extensively studied as a potent anticancer molecule against various types of cancers. Honeybee products such as the royal jelly (RJ), the nutritive secretion fed to honeybee queens, exhibit a variety of biological activities besides its anticancer effect. However, the anticancer activity of the combination of TQ and RJ against breast cancer is still unknown.

AIM: To investigate cytotoxicity of RJ in FHs 74 Int cells and the anticancer effects of TQ, RJ, and their combinations in the MDA-MB-231 cell line.

METHODS: Cells were treated with TQ, RJ, and their combinations for 24 h. Using 3-(4,5 dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay, we determined the half-maximal inhibitory concentration of TQ. Trypan blue and 3-(4,5 dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assays were then performed to assess the cell viability in response to different treatment conditions. Cell death and cycle regulation were investigated using propidium iodide deoxyribonucleic acid staining followed by flow cytometry in response to a single dose of TQ, RJ, and their combination. Immunostaining for cleaved caspase 3 and Ki67 expression was used to determine apoptosis induction and changes in cell proliferation.

RESULTS: TQ alone inhibited cell viability in a dose-dependent manner at concentrations below and above the half-maximal inhibitory concentration. RJ exhibited relatively nontoxic effects against MDA-MB-231 cells and FHs 74 Int small intestinal cells at concentrations below 5µg/mL. High doses of RJ (200 µg/mL) had greater toxicity against MDA-MB-231 cells. Interestingly, the inhibition of cell viability was most pronounced in response to 15 µmol/L TQ and 5 µg/mL RJ. A dose of 15 µmol/L TQ caused a significant increase in the PreG1 population, while a more pronounced effect on cell viability inhibition and PreG1 increase was observed in response to TQ and RJ combinations. TQ was the main inducer of caspase 3-dependent apoptosis when applied alone and in combination with RJ. In contrast, no significant regulation of Ki67 expression was observed, indicating thatthe decrease in cell viability was due to apoptosis induction rather than to inhibition of cell proliferation.

CONCLUSION: This study is the first to report enhanced anticancer effects of TQ and RJ combination against MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells, which could confer an advantage for cancer therapy.

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Sayer Ji
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