Aim: To investigate the anticancer mechanisms of the monoterpenoid alcohol linalool in human colon cancer cells.
Methods: The cytotoxic effect of linalool on the human colon cancer cell lines and a human fibroblast cell line was examined using the WST-8 assay. The apoptosis-inducing effect of linalool was measured using the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick-end labeling assay and flow cytometry with Annexin V. Oxidative stress was investigated by staining for diphenyl-1-pyrenylphosphine, which is a cellular lipid peroxidation marker, and electron spin resonance spectroscopy. Sixteen SCID mice xenografted with human cancer cells were randomized into 3 groups for in vivo analysis: control and low-dose and high-dose linalool groups. The control group was administered tap water orally every 3 d. The linalool treatment groups were administered 100 or 200 μg/kg linalool solution orally for the same period. All mice were sacrificed under anesthesia 21 d after tumor inoculation, and tumors and organs were collected for immunohistochemistry using an anti-4-hydroxynonenal antibody. Tumor weights were measured and compared between groups.
Results: Linalool induced apoptosis of cancer cells in vitro, following the cancer-specific induction of oxidative stress, which was measured based on spontaneous hydroxyl radical production and delayed lipid peroxidation. Mice in the high-dose linalool group exhibited a 55% reduction in mean xenograft tumor weight compared with mice in the control group (P < 0.05). In addition, tumor-specific lipid peroxidation was observed in the in vivo model.
Conclusion: Linalool exhibited an anticancer effect via cancer-specific oxidative stress, and this agent has potential for application in colon cancer therapy.
Keywords: Colorectal cancer; Electron spin resonance; Linalool; Lipid peroxidation; Oxidative stress.