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Saudi Med J. 2017 Apr;38(4):359-365. doi: 10.15537/smj.2017.4.17061.

Cytotoxicity anticancer activities of anastrozole against breast, liver hepatocellular, and prostate cancer cells.

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Department of Chemistry, College of Science, Al-Nahrain University, Baghdad, Iraq. E-mail.


To investigate the cytotoxic effect of anastrozole on breast (MCF7), liver hepatocellular (HepG2), and prostate (PC3) cancer cells. Methods: This is a prospective study. Anastrozole's mechanism of apoptosis in living cells was also determined by high content screening (HCS) assay. Methylthiazol tetrazolium (MTT) assay was carried out at the Centre of Biotechnology Research's, Al-Nahrain University, Baghdad, Iraq between July 2015 and October 2015. The HCS assay was performed at the Centre for Natural Product Research  and Drug Discovery, Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia between November 2015 and February 2016. Results: The most significant cytotoxic effect of anastrozole towards 3 cancer cell lines was obtained when its concentration was 400 µg/mL. The MCF7 cells were more sensitive to anastrozole compared with the HepG2 and PC-3 cells. There was a significant increase in membrane permeability, cytochrome c and nuclear intensity when anastrozole (200 µg/mL) was used compared with doxorubicin (20 µg/mL) as a standard. Also, there was a significant decrease in cell viability and mitochondrial membrane permeability when anastrozole (200 µg/mL) was used compared with positive control. Conclusion: Anastrozole showed cytotoxic effects against the MCF7, HepG2, and PC3 cell lines as determined in-vitro by the MTT assay. The HCS technique also showed toxic effect towards MCF7. It is evident that anastrozole inhibits the aromatase enzyme preventing the aromatization mechanism; however, it has a toxic effect.

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