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Keywords:

  • apoptosis;
  • carcinoma cells;
  • human breast tumour cells;
  • radiosensitization;
  • thymoquinone;
  • tumour

Abstract

TQ (thymoquinone), the bioactive constituent of black seed (Nigella sativa), has been shown to inhibit the growth of various human cancers both in vitro and in vivo. This study reports the radiosensitizing effect of TQ on human breast carcinoma cells (MCF7 and T47D). TQ in combination with single dose of ionizing radiation (2.5 Gy) was found to exert supra-additive cytotoxic effects on both the carcinomas as measured by cell proliferation and colony-formation assays. Annexin V binding and FACS analysis revealed the role of enhanced apoptosis and cell cycle modulation in the mechanism of TQ-mediated radiosensitization, thus supporting TQ as an adjuvant for preclinical testing in cancer chemo-radiotherapy.