Antitumour activity of crocetin in accordance to tumor incidence, antioxidant status, drug metabolizing enzymes and histopathological studies

Mol Cell Biochem. 2006 Jul;287(1-2):127-35. doi: 10.1007/s11010-005-9088-0. Epub 2006 May 10.


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer related mortality worldwide. Crocetin, saffron plant derivative known to play a role in cancer chemoprevention. In the present study the effects of crocetin was tested against lung cancer-bearing mice in both pre-initiation and post-initiation periods. Healthy male Swiss albino mice (6-8 weeks old) were used throughout the study. Experiment was designed with the treatment regimen of crocetin [20 mg/kg body weight dissolved in dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO)] for 4 weeks before (pre-initiation) and from 12th week after Benzo(a) pyrene B(a)p (50 mg/kg body weight) induced lung carcinoma(post-initiation). The level of lipid peroxidation (LPO) and marker enzymes markedly increased in carcinogen administered animals, which was brought back to near normal by crocetin treatment. The activities of the enzymic antioxidants and glutathione metabolizing enzymes were decreased in B(a)p induced animals and increased upon drug treatment. Crocetin profoundly reverted back the pathological changes observed in cancerous animals. From the results crocetin proves to scavenge free radical and plays an important role in cellular function. Tumor incidence and histopathological studies proves crocetin is a potent antitumour agent.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Carotenoids / pharmacology*
  • Chemoprevention / methods
  • Enzymes / analysis
  • Free Radical Scavengers / therapeutic use
  • Lipid Peroxidation
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Male
  • Mice


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Biomarkers
  • Enzymes
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • trans-sodium crocetinate
  • Carotenoids