Background: Colon cancer is one of the most deadly and common carcinomas occurring worldwide
and there have been many attempts to treat this cancer. The present work was designed in order to evaluate
thymol as a potent drug against colon cancer.
Materials and Methods: Cytotoxicity of thymol at different concentrations was evaluated against a human colon
carcinoma cell line (HCT-116 cells). Fluorescent staining was carried out to evaluate the level of ROS as well as
mitochondrial and DNA fragmentation and immunoblot analysis were performed to confirm apoptosis and mitoptosis.
Results and Conclusion: Results of the study demonstrated that thymol efficiently created an oxidative stress
environment inside HCT-116 cells, a colorectal carcinoma cell line, through induction of ROS production along
with intense damage to DNA and mitochondria, as observed through Hoechst and rhodamine 123 staining, respectively.
Moreover, expression of PARP-1, p-JNK, cytochrome-C and caspase-3 proteins was up-regulated,
suggesting HCT-116 cells underwent mitoptotic cell death. Therefore, thymol could be used as a potent drug
against colon cancer due to its lower toxicity and prevalence in natural medicinal plants.