Background: The fruit of Kochia scoparia Scharder is widely used as a medicinal ingredient for the treatment of dysuria and skin diseases in China, Japan and Korea. Especially, K. scoparia had been used for breast masses and chest and flank pain.
Objective: To investigate the anti-cancer effect of K. scoparia on breast cancer.
Materials and methods: We investigated the anti-cancer effects of K. scoparia, methanol extract (MEKS) in vitro. We examined the effects of MEKS on the proliferation rate, cell cycle arrest, reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and activation of apoptosis-associated proteins in MDA-MB-231, human breast cancer cells.
Results: MTT assay results demonstrated that MEKS decreased the proliferation rates of MDA-MB-231 cells in a dose-dependent manner with an IC50 value of 36.2 μg/ml. MEKS at 25 μg/ml significantly increased the sub-G1 DNA contents of MDA-MB-231 cells to 44.7%, versus untreated cells. In addition, MEKS induced apoptosis by increasing the levels of apoptosis-associated proteins such as cleaved caspase 3, cleaved caspase 8, cleaved caspase 9 and cleaved Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP).
Conclusion: These results suggest that MEKS inhibits cell proliferation and induces apoptosis in breast cancer cells and that MEKS may have potential chemotherapeutic value for the treatment of human breast cancer.
Keywords: Apoptosis; Kochia scoparia; breast cancer; cancer therapy; reactive oxygen species.