Possible Protective Effects of TA on the Cancerous Effect of Mesotrione

Nutrients. 2020 May 8;12(5):1343. doi: 10.3390/nu12051343.


The interaction of different food ingredients is now a very important and often emerging topic of research. Pesticides and their breakdown products, which may be carcinogenic, are one of the frequently occurring food contaminants. Compounds like traumatic acid (TA), which originates from plants, are beneficial, antioxidant, and anticancer food ingredients. Previously obtained results from our research group indicated antioxidative in normal human fibroblasts and prooxidative in cancer cells activity of TA. Since the literature data show an undoubted connection between the presence of pesticides in food and the increased incidence of different types of cancers, we attempted to clarify whether TA can abolish the effect of mesotrione stimulating the growth of cancer cells. In order to study the influence of mesotrione on breast cancer cells, we decided to carry out cytotoxicity studies of environmentally significant herbicide concentrations. We also analyzed the cytotoxicity of TA and mixtures of these two compounds. After selecting the most effective concentrations of both components tested, we conducted analyses of oxidative stress parameters and apoptosis in ZR-75-1 cells. The obtained results allow us to conclude that traumatic acid by stimulating oxidative stress and apoptosis contributes to inhibiting the growth and development of cells of the ZR-75-1 line strengthened by mesotrione. This may mean that TA is a compound with pro-oxidative and proapoptotic effects in cancer cells whose development and proliferation are stimulated by the presence of mesotrione. The presented results may be helpful in answering the question of whether herbicides and their residues in edibles may constitute potential threat for people diagnosed with cancer and whether compounds with proven pro-oxidative effects on cancer cells can have potential cytoprotective functions.

Keywords: antioxidant; breast cancer; herbicide; mesotrione; oxidative stress; traumatic acid.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic*
  • Antioxidants*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cyclohexanones / adverse effects*
  • Cytoprotection / drug effects*
  • Dicarboxylic Acids / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Food Contamination*
  • Herbicides / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Antioxidants
  • Cyclohexanones
  • Dicarboxylic Acids
  • Herbicides
  • mesotrione
  • traumatic acid