Natural products obtained from plants can be potent sources for developing a variety of pharmaceutical products. Allium species have been widely studied for their anti-cancer effects and presented promising results as potential anti-cancer agents. Breast cancer (BCa) is one of the most commonly diagnosed types of cancer in women. In this study, we aimed to investigate the anti-proliferative, cytotoxic and anti-metastatic effects of bulb and stem extracts from Allium autumnale P. H. Davis (Amaryllidaceae), an endemic Allium species to the island of Cyprus, in a comparative approach to weakly metastatic MCF-7 and strongly metastatic MDA-MB-231 breast cancer (BCa) cell lines.
Possible cytotoxic, anti-proliferative and anti-metastatic effects of the Allium extracts on MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells were tested using trypan blue exclusion, MTT and wound heal assays, respectively. Gas Chromatography Mass Spectroscopy (GC-MS) analysis was performed to determine the prominent medically important compounds in Allium autumnale bulb (AAB) and Allium autumnale stem (AAS) extracts. Student unpaired t-test or ANOVA followed by Newman-Keuls post hoc analysis (INSTAT Software) was used where appropriate.
Our results demonstrate that AAB extract (24, 48 and 72 h) exerts significant anti-proliferative effect on both MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells where this effect for AAS extract was observed only at high (5000 and 10,000 μg/mL) concentrations. Cell viability experiments revealed that AAB extract incubations caused more cytotoxicity on both BCa cell lines compared to the AAS. In contrast, there was no effect on lateral motilities of either cell line.
Overall, our studies demonstrated the anti-cancer activities associated with Allium autumnale, revealing it’s cytotoxic and anti-proliferative potential to be further utilized in in vivo studies.