Cyprus Journal of Medical Sciences
Original Article

Anticancer Activities of Allium sativum L. Against MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 Breast Cancer Cell Lines Mediated by Caspase-3 and Caspase-9


Department of Pharmacy, Cyprus International University Faculty of Pharmacy, Nicosia, Cyprus


Biotechnology Research Center, Cyprus International University, Nicosia, Cyprus

Cyprus J Med Sci 2020; 5: 305-312
DOI: 10.5152/cjms.2020.1848
Read: 65 Downloads: 15 Published: 13 January 2021


Allium sativum (garlic) has been used as a medicinal herb for centuries, and commonly among cancer patients as herbal supplements. The aim of this study is to explore the in vitro antitumoral effects of Allium sativum L. (ASB) on human breast cancer (BCa) cell lines, MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231.


Trypan blue assay and LDH assays were used to quantitatively determine the cytotoxicity effects of ASB extract on BCa cell lines. Cytotoxicity experiments were followed up by caspase-3 and -9 activity assays to get a mechanistic insight into the associated molecular pathways. The MTT assay was used to demonstrate the antiproliferative activity, whereas the lateral motility assay was used to gain insight into the migration potential of BCa cells upon incubation with the ASB extract. The bioactive molecules in the ASB extract were delineated through GC-MS analysis.


Exposure to ASB extract caused a significant cytotoxicity effect on MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cell lines. A significant activation of caspase-9 was observed in both tested cell lines, indicating that the cytotoxic activity is mediated in an apoptotic manner. The results of the MTT assay revealed a significant antiproliferative effect on both tested cell lines at all tested time points. The lateral motility experiments showed a significant reduction in BCa cell motility demonstrating the antimotility potency of the ASB extract. An abundance of bioactive molecules in ASB were revealed via GC-MS analysis, many of which have been previously associated with anticancer activities.


Overall, Allium sativum has significant antitumoral and antimotility effects on MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 human breast cancer cells which are attributed to its bioactive molecules.

Cite this article as: Isbilen O, Volkan E. Anticancer Activities of Allium sativum L. Against MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 Breast Cancer Cell Lines Mediated by Caspase-3 and Caspase-9. Cyprus J Med Sci 2020; 5(4): 305-12.

ISSN 2149-7893 EISSN 2536-507X