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Int J Clin Exp Med. 2015 Nov 15;8(11):20316-22. eCollection 2015.

Antitumor effects of crocin on human breast cancer cells.

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General Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University Zhengzhou, China.
Guangdong General Hospital & Guangdong Academy of Medical Sciences Guangdong, China.


Crocin is a chemical extracted from saffron and it is the most important kind of pigment of saffron. It has been proposed as a promising candidate for cancer prevention. In this study, we investigate the growth inhibition and the apoptosis of MCF-7 cells induced by Crocin, and explore the underlying molecular mechanism. We found that Crocin can significantly inhibit the proliferation of MCF-7 cells, and induce their apoptosis through mitochondrial signaling pathways including the activation of Caspase-8, upregulation of Bax, the disruption of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), and the release of cytochrome c. The studies showed that Crocin induced apoptosis of MCF-7 cells partially through caspase-8 mediated mitochondrial pathway. Therefore, we postulate that Crocin might have cancer-preventive and cancer-therapeutic benefit for human breast cancer.


Crocin; apoptosis; breast cancer


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