Breast cancer is the second most common cancer causing death worldwide with metastasis and disease relapse being the major drawbacks in current treatments. Therefore, development of novel drugs is needed. Balsamin, a 28 kDa Type I ribosome-inactivating protein, is rich in the seeds of Momordica balsamina. In this study, the molecular mechanism and the possible effects of balsamin on the two key hallmarks of cancer were investigated. Firstly, the induction of apoptosis in human breast cancer MCF-7 and BT549 cells showed that balsamin-induced apoptosis involved increases in caspase-3 and caspase-8 activity, upregulation of Bax, Bid, and Bad, and downregulation of BCL-2 and BCL-XL. Furthermore, balsamin inhibited the proliferation of breast cancer cells in a dose-dependent manner with IC50 values of 24.53 and 32.79 µg/ml for MCF-7 and BT549 cells, respectively. Moreover, flow cytometric analysis revealed that balsamin induced S-/G-phase cell cycle arrest. Our studies show that balsamin has anti-tumor activity and could be used as a neutraceutical for the treatment of breast cancer.
- Functional food and DNase activity