Growth inhibition and modulation of cell markers of melanoma by S-allyl cysteine

Oncology. 1993;50(1):63-9. doi: 10.1159/000227149.


A sulfur-containing amino acid compound, S-allyl cysteine (SAC), derived from garlic extract inhibited proliferation of nine human and murine melanoma cell line in a dose-dependent manner (1.2-10 mM) assessed by a [3H]thymidine incorporation assay. Three control human lymphoblastoid cell lines were not inhibited by SAC concentrations < 5 mM. Four human melanoma cell lines in a soft-agar assay also showed dose-dependent inhibition of colony formation by SAC. Melanin content was increased up to 95% compared to the same untreated cell lines in these four human melanoma and two B16 murine melanoma sublines. Expression of cell surface gangliosides, cellular-differentiation and transformation markers, decreased after SAC treatment. Significant morphological changes including 'flattening and/or dendritic-like elongations' were also observed. Thus SAC inhibited cellular growth and proliferation and modulated major cell differentiation markers of melanoma.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cysteine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Cysteine / pharmacology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Gangliosides / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Melanins / metabolism*
  • Melanoma / chemistry
  • Melanoma / metabolism*
  • Melanoma / pathology*
  • Mice
  • Thymidine / metabolism
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Tumor Stem Cell Assay


  • Gangliosides
  • Melanins
  • S-allylcysteine
  • Cysteine
  • Thymidine