Background: The carcinogenesis of the uterine cervix is predominantly initiated with the consistent infection of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Owing to the side effects of standard chemotherapeutics in the treatment of recurrent and metastatic cervical cancer, there is a need for a better and effective treatment modality. In this lieu of concern, natural compounds have proven their worthwhile potential against the treatment of various carcinomas. Carvacrol is a phenolic monoterpenoid and several reports have suggested its different biological properties including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer activity.
Objective: The objective of our present study was to investigate the effect of carvacrol on HPV18+ HeLa cervical cancer cells.
Methods: HeLa cervical cancer cells were cultured and subsequently treated with various doses of carvacrol. Cell viability was assessed via MTT assay. DAPI and Hoechst3342 staining were used to qualitatively analyzed the induced apoptosis. Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) was estimated by DCFDA staining protocol and quantitatively estimated by flow cytometry. The cell cycle distribution and apoptosis (FITC-Annexin V assay) were analyzed by flow cytometry.
Results: The results of the present study have established that carvacrol strongly suppresses the proliferation of cervical cancer cells via caspase-dependent apoptosis and abrogation of cell cycle progression. Furthermore, our preliminary study also demonstrated that carvacrol exhibits a synergistic effect with chemotherapeutic drugs (5-FU and carboplatin). These initial findings implicated that natural compounds could reduce the toxic effects of chemotherapeutic drugs.
Conclusion: Therefore, this investigation affirms the anti-cancer potential of carvacrol against cervical cancer cells, which could be an appendage in the prevention and treatment of cervical cancer.