Introduction: In this study the effect of C. colocynthis extract and phycocyanin on the growth of colon cancer cells, and the expression of Caspase 3 and Bax were investigated.
Materials & Methods: colon cancer cells (HT29) were treated with different concentrations of C. colocynthis and phycocyanin extracts for 24, 48 & 72 hours. The percentage of cell survival was then measured by MTT assay. Expression of Caspase 3 and Bax genes was investigated by real-time PCR. At the end results were analyzed by SPSS software.
Results: Significant differences were observed in the average percentage of dead cells with 2 to 30 g/μL concentration of extract, phycocyanin, extract + phycocyanin after 24, 48 and 72 hours (p<0.05). The combination of extract and phycocyanin as well as phycocyanin alone showed stronger inhibitory effects on growth of cancer cells compared to extract (p <0.05). The expression of Bax gene was significantly increased by treatment of combination of extract and phycocyanin (2.55-fold) and also C. colocynthis extract alone (1.67-fold) (p <0.01). In addition, the combination of extract and phycocyanin and Abujahl watermelon extract significantly increased the expression of caspase 3 gene (2.15 and 1.75), respectively (p <0.01).
Conclusion: The anticancer effect of Citrullus Colocynthis extract, as well as phycocyanin can be applied by increase the expression of Bax and caspase 3 genes and as a result, apoptosis induction in cancer cells.