Anticancer Effect of Thymol on AGS Human Gastric Carcinoma Cells

J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2016 Jan;26(1):28-37. doi: 10.4014/jmb.1506.06073.


Numerous plants have been documented to contain phenolic compounds. Thymol is one among these phenolic compounds that possess a repertoire of pharmacological activities, including anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antioxidant, antibacterial, and antimicrobial effects. Despite of the plethora of affects elicited by thymol, its activity profile on gastric cancer cells is not explored. In this study, we discovered that thymol exerts anticancer effects by suppressing cell growth, inducing apoptosis, producing intracellular reactive oxygen species, depolarizing mitochondrial membrane potential, and activating the proapoptotic mitochondrial proteins Bax, cysteine aspartases (caspases), and poly ADP ribose polymerase in human gastric AGS cells. The outcomes of this study displayed that thymol, via an intrinsic mitochondrial pathway, was responsible for inducing apoptosis in gastric AGS cells. Hence, thymol might serve as a tentative agent in the future to treat cancer.

Keywords: AGS human gastric carcinoma cells; Anticancer; Apoptosis; Thymol.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Stomach Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Stomach Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Thymol / pharmacology*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Thymol