Synergistic effect of temozolomide and thymoquinone on human glioblastoma multiforme cell line (U87MG)

J Cancer Res Ther. Jul-Sep 2018;14(5):1023-1028. doi: 10.4103/0973-1482.187241.


Aims: Temozolomide (TMZ) is an alkylating agent used for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) treatment. Nevertheless, resistance to TMZ is a major obstacle to successful treatment of this cancer. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of TMZ and thymoquinone (TQ) on U87MG cell line.

Materials and methods: The effect of TMZ and/or TQ on viability and invasion potential of U87MG cells was evaluated using various techniques including 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide, lactate dehydrogenase activity, cell invasion, migration, and adhesion assays. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and polymerase chain reaction were used to study the expression and secretion of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs).

Results: Combination of TMZ and TQ had a synergistic cytotoxic effect on U87MG cells. TMZ and/or TQ significantly reduced the potential of U87MG cells invasion. In addition, after treating with TMZ and/or TQ, there was a decrease in the levels of matrix matrix metalloproteinase 2 nad 9 (MMP 2 and 9) expression and secretion in U87MG cells.

Conclusions: The combination of TMZ and TQ may emerge as a promising strategy for the successful treatment of GBM.

Keywords: Drug resistance; glioblastoma multiforme; matrix metalloproteinases; temozolomide; thymoquinone.

MeSH terms

  • Benzoquinones / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Dacarbazine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Dacarbazine / pharmacology
  • Drug Synergism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects
  • Glioblastoma / genetics
  • Glioblastoma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2 / genetics
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 / genetics
  • Temozolomide


  • Benzoquinones
  • Dacarbazine
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9
  • thymoquinone
  • Temozolomide