Beta-Caryophyllene Suppresses Ovarian Cancer Proliferation by Inducing Cell Cycle Arrest and Apoptosis

Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2020;20(13):1530-1537. doi: 10.2174/1871520620666200227093216.


Background: Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cause of cancer deaths among women with lesser prognostics. Current treatment options are chemotherapy with platinum and taxane based chemotherapy. β-Caryophyllene (BCP) an essential oil found in many plant species is known to possess an anti-proliferative effect.

Objective: We aimed to investigate the antiproliferative, cytotoxic, and apoptotic role of BCP against ovarian cancer cells PA-1 and OAW 42.

Methods: The antiproliferative effect of BCP was determined by MTT assay and cell viability by trypan blue exclusion assay. Cell cycle and live/dead cell analyses were performed by flow cytometry to determine cell cycle distribution and apoptosis, respectively.

Results: Results of MTT assay proved the anti-proliferative effect of BCP in a dose and time-dependent manner in ovarian cancer cells. Cell cycle analysis showed that BCP induced S Phase arrest in OAW 42 cells. Results of apoptosis assay confirmed the apoptosis inducing potential of BCP in ovarian cancer cells. The apoptosis is mediated by caspase-3 activation and PARP cleavage.

Conclusion: The results of our present study prove that BCP exerts its action partly by inducing cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in ovarian cancer. We conclude that BCP is a potential anti-cancer agent.

Keywords: Beta-caryophyllene; OAW 42.; PA-1; apoptosis; cell cycle arrest; ovarian cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Cell Cycle Checkpoints / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Molecular Structure
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Polycyclic Sesquiterpenes / chemistry
  • Polycyclic Sesquiterpenes / pharmacology*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Polycyclic Sesquiterpenes
  • caryophyllene