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Essential oil of Foeniculum vulgare subsp. piperitum fruits exerts an anti‑tumor effect in triple‑negative breast cancer cells.

August 16, 2022

Mol Med Rep, 2022 vol. 26(1) p. 243

Essential oil of Foeniculum vulgare subsp. piperitum fruits exerts an anti‑tumor effect in triple‑negative breast cancer cells.

Lauricella, M; Maggio, A; Badalamenti, N; Bruno, M; D’Angelo, GD; D’Anneo, A

At present, the growing spread of tumor cases worldwide renders the research of new promising and selective anticancer drugs urgent. The biological action of extracts of medicinal plants or their essential oils (EOs) is an emerging field of interest, since they could comprise a rich source of phytochemicals that can prove promising. In the present study, the biological activity and mechanism of action of the EO of Foeniculum vulgare subsp. piperitum fruits (FVPEO) were investigated using MTT assays, morphological analyses and western blotting in MDA‑MB231 cells, a triple‑negative breast cancer cell line. The findings revealed that FVPEO could exert strong anticancer effects, causing a dose‑dependent inhibition of breast cancer MDA‑MB231 cell growth, accompanied with DNA condensation and fragmentation. The cytotoxic effect of FVPEO was counteracted by the addition of the antioxidant N‑acetylcysteine and was associated with a marked increase in reactive oxygen species and stress‑related proteins; such as manganese superoxide dismutase, c‑Jun, phospho‑c‑Jun N‑terminal kinase and nuclear factor E2‑related factor 2, and the latter’s transcriptional targets, Heme oxygenase‑1 and NAD(P)H quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1). As evidenced by the activation of caspase‑3 and fragmentation of poly(ADP‑ribose) polymerase‑1, which are typical apoptosis markers, FVPEO promoted apoptotic cell death accompanied with an increase in phosphorylated H2A histone family member X and the activation of the NQO1/p53 axis. In combination, the present experiments provided evidence that FVPEO could represent a reservoir of biologically active compounds suitable for both cancer prevention and treatment.

PMID: 35642658


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