Background: Chemotherapeutic agents have numerous side effects. There is a major interest in using natural and safe plants as food or drink to prevent from cancer. Origanum marjoram (OMAE) is a medicinal plant that can be used as a tea, food, and additive in traditional medicine.
Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the potential anticancer effects of OMAE as a soft drink for daily use against a model cancer, prevention and treatment.
Method: MCF-7 cells were chosen as model cancer cells. The MTT assay was used to assess the in vitro inhibitory effects of OMAE on cell growth. Moreover, quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) was used to detect specific genes associated with cancer, such as ESR1, Bax, Bcl-2, and p53. Furthermore, the DNA damage was evaluated using the comet assay.
Results: OMAE has IC50 of 53.1 and IC90 of 97.5 μg/ml dependent inhibition of cell proliferation after 48 h of treatment toward MCF-7. Also, a significant decrease in the expression level of the ESR1 gene in the MCF-7 cell line. Furthermore, there was a significant increase in the comet length and comet-positive cells after treatment with OMAE (88.7%) compared with those in the untreated control cells (9.5%), suggesting a high induction of DNA damage by OMAE. Also, OMAE showed a modification in bcl-2, tumor suppressor gene (p53), and Bax levels and influenced the BAX/BCL-2 ratio via releasing the cytochrome C.
Conclusion: The results of the study were promising, suggesting that the reduced apoptotic rate of MCF-7 breast cancer cells in this work was correlated to the potential anticancer effect of OMAE which would be a suitable preventable drink against cancer. However, further studies are needed to fully understand the potential of OMAE as a cancer treatment.
Keywords: Bcl-2 family; Breast cancer; DNA damage; ESR1; Origanum Marjoram; comet assay.