Potential Anticancer Effect of Carvacrol Codrugs on Human Glioblastoma Cells

Curr Drug Deliv. 2021;18(3):350-356. doi: 10.2174/1567201817666201027123424.


Background: Essential oils are considered as promising sources of novel anticancer compounds. Carvacrol (CVC), the major constituent of many aromatic plants including oregano and thymus, is endowed with curative properties on different cancers, including liver, colon, and lung. Little information is available regarding the potential of CVC for the treatment of brain cancers, notably Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM).

Objective: In this work, we investigated the in vitro effect of CVC codrugs (CVC1-8), synthesized by direct-coupled co-drug strategies, on human glioblastoma cell line (U87-MG) for the first time.

Methods: Cell viability was detected by MTT and LDH assays while expression levels of important genes (such as EGFR, NFKB1A, AKT1, AKT2, and others) associated with GBM and inflammatory pathways were detected by PCR array.

Results: Results showed that CVC1-8 codrugs induced cytotoxicity and positive alterations in molecular responses on U87MG cells. Particularly, important pathways (such as PI3K/PTEN/AKT) involved in the onset and progression of GBM resulted in modulation by CVC3 and CVC8.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that CVC3 and CVC8 could be suitable candidates for further investigation to develop new strategies for the prevention and/or treatment of GBM.

Keywords: Anti-proliferative action; carvacrol codrug; codrug strategy; gene expression; glioblastoma multiforme.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cymenes / chemistry*
  • Cymenes / pharmacology
  • Glioblastoma* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Signal Transduction


  • Cymenes
  • carvacrol