Cytotoxicity and Proapoptotic Effects of Allium atroviolaceum Flower Extract by Modulating Cell Cycle Arrest and Caspase-Dependent and p53-Independent Pathway in Breast Cancer Cell Lines

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2017;2017:1468957. doi: 10.1155/2017/1468957. Epub 2017 Nov 8.


Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women and despite significant advances in therapy, it remains a critical health problem worldwide. Allium atroviolaceum is an herbaceous plant, with limited information about the therapeutic capability. We aimed to study the anticancer effect of flower extract and the mechanisms of action in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231. The extract inhibits the proliferation of the cells in a time- and dose-dependent manner. The underlying mechanism involved the stimulation of S and G2/M phase arrest in MCF-7 and S phase arrest in MDA-MB-231 associated with decreased level of Cdk1, in a p53-independent pathway. Furthermore, the extract induces apoptosis in both cell lines, as indicated by the percentage of sub-G0 population, the morphological changes observed by phase contrast and fluorescent microscopy, and increase in Annexin-V-positive cells. The apoptosis induction was related to downregulation of Bcl-2 and also likely to be caspase-dependent. Moreover, the combination of the extract and tamoxifen exhibits synergistic effect, suggesting that it can complement current chemotherapy. LC-MS analysis displayed 17 major compounds in the extract which might be responsible for the observed effects. Overall, this study demonstrates the potential applications of Allium atroviolaceum extract as an anticancer drug for breast cancer treatment.