Dietary spices protect against hydrogen peroxide-induced DNA damage and inhibit nicotine-induced cancer cell migration

Food Chem. 2012 Oct 1;134(3):1580-4. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2012.03.101. Epub 2012 Mar 31.


Spices are rich sources of antioxidants due to the presence of phenols and flavonoids. In this study, the DNA protecting activity and inhibition of nicotine-induced cancer cell migration of 9 spices were analysed. Murine fibroblasts (3T3-L1) and human breast cancer (MCF-7) cells were pre-treated with spice extracts and then exposed to H₂O₂ and nicotine. The comet assay was used to analyse the DNA damage. Among the 9 spices, ginger, at 50 μg/ml protected against 68% of DNA damage in 3T3-L1 cells. Caraway, cumin and fennel showed statistically significant (p<0.05) DNA protecting activity. Treatment of MCF-7 cells with nicotine induced cell migration, whereas pre-treatment with spices reduced this migration. Pepper, long pepper and ginger exhibited a high rate of inhibition of cell migration. The results of this study prove that spices protect DNA and inhibit cancer cell migration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants
  • Cell Movement / drug effects*
  • Comet Assay
  • DNA Damage / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / chemistry*
  • Nicotine / adverse effects*
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Spices / analysis*


  • Antioxidants
  • Plant Extracts
  • Nicotine
  • Hydrogen Peroxide