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J BUON. 2014 Oct-Dec;19(4):1055-61.

Enhanced cytotoxicity and apoptosis by thymoquinone in combination with zoledronic acid in hormone- and drug-resistant prostate cancer cell lines.

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Medical Oncology Clinic, Izmir Katip Celebi University Ataturk Training and Research Hospital, Izmir, Turkey.



Thymoquinone (TQ), an active ingredient of black seed oil (Nigella Sativa), has been shown to possess cytotoxic activity against a variety of cancer cell lines. Our purpose was to investigate if the cytotoxic and apoptotic effect of zoledronic acid (ZA) can be enhanced by the addition of the TQ in hormone- and drug-refractory prostate cancer cells PC-3 and DU-145.


XTT cell proliferation assay was used to assess cytotoxicity; DNA fragmentation and caspase 3/7 activity were also measured.


The combination of TQ and ZA resulted in a significant synergistic cytotoxic activity and DNA fragmentation when compared to any single agent alone, in a dose- and time-dependent manner. In addition, TQ and ZA combination increased the caspase 3/7 activity in PC-3 cell line, while this activity could not be demonstrated in DU-145 cell line.


TQ and ZA had minimal hematological and non-hematological toxicity profile compared to cytotoxic agents. So, this combination may be an alternative approach for patients who are unable to be treated by conventional treatments because of poor performance status.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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