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Iran J Basic Med Sci. 2013 Jan;16(1):27-38.

Saffron Aqueous Extract Inhibits the Chemically-induced Gastric Cancer Progression in the Wistar Albino Rat.

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Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.



Gastric cancer is the first and second leading cause of cancer related death in Iranian men and women, respectively. Gastric cancer management is based on the surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. In the present study, for the first time, the beneficial effect of saffron (Crocus sativus L.) aqueous extract (SAE) on the 1-Methyl -3- nitro -1- nitrosoguanidine (MNNG)-induced gastric cancer in rat was investigated.


MNNG was used to induce gastric cancer and then, different concentrations of SAE were administered to rats. After sacrificing, the stomach tissue was investigated by both pathologist and flow cytometry, and several biochemical parameters was determined in the plasma (or serum) and stomach of rats.


Pathologic data indicated the induction of cancer at different stages from hyperplasia to adenoma in rats; and the inhibition of cancer progression in the gastric tissue by SAE administration; so that, 20% of cancerous rats treated with higher doses of SAE was completely normal at the end of experiment and there was no rat with adenoma in the SAE treated groups. In addition, the results of the flow cytometry/ propidium iodide staining showed that the apoptosis/proliferation ratio was increased due to the SAE treatment of cancerous rats. Moreover, the significantly increased serum LDH and decreased plasma antioxidant activity due to cancer induction fell backwards after treatment of rats with SAE. But changes in the other parameters (Ca(2+), tyrosine kinase activity and carcino-embryonic antigen) were not significant.


SAE inhibits the progression of gastric cancer in rats, in a dose dependent manner.


Anticancer; Crocus sativus; Flow Cytometry; LDH; MNNG; Saffron

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