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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Oncol. | doi: 10.3389/fonc.2019.00795

Origanum majorana ethanolic extract promotes colorectal cancer cell death by triggering abortive autophagy and activation of the extrinsic apoptotic pathway

 Nehla Benhalilou1,  Halima Alsamri1,  Aysha Alneyadi1, Khawlah Athamneh1, Asma Alrashedi1, Nedaa Altamimi1,  Yusra Al Ghaheri2,  Ali H. Eid3 and  Rabah Iratni4*
  • 1Department of Biology, College of Science, United Arab Emirates University, United Arab Emirates
  • 2Department of Geology, College of Science, United Arab Emirates University, United Arab Emirates
  • 3Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Faculty of Medicine, American University of Beirut, Lebanon
  • 4United Arab Emirates University, United Arab Emirates

Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. We have previously shown that Origanum majorana ethanolic extract (OME) promoted mitotic arrest, induced apoptosis and inhibited migration, metastasis and tumor growth of triple negative breast cancer. Here, we investigated the potential anticancer effect and the molecular mechanism of Origanum majoran ethanolic extract against human colorectal cancer cells. Our results showed that OME exhibited strong anti-proliferative activity against colorectal cancer cells (HT-29 and Caco-2) in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. OME inhibited cell viability, colony growth and induced mitotic arrest of HT-29 cells. Also, OME induced DNA damage, triggered abortive autophagy and activated a caspase 3 and 7-dependent extrinsic apoptotic pathway, most likely through activation of the TNFα pathway. Time-course analysis revealed that DNA damage occurred concomitantly with abortive autophagy after 4 hours post-OME treatment while apoptosis was activated only 24 hours later. Blockade of autophagy initiation, by 3-methyladenine, reduced OME-induced cell death while inhibition of apoptosis had a minimal effect. We also found that OME downregulated survivin in HT-29 cells. Our findings demonstrate that Origanum majorana extract possesses strong anti-colon cancer activity through induction of autophagic and apoptotic cell death, making it a potential and valuable source of novel therapeutic cancer agents.

Keywords: Colon Cancer, Abortive autophagy, Apoptosis, DNA Damage, Origanum majorana, HPLC-MS

Received: 12 Jun 2019; Accepted: 06 Aug 2019.

Edited by:

Wei-Dong Zhang, Second Military Medical University, China

Reviewed by:

Xin Hui Tian, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, China
Bing-Liang Ma, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, China  

Copyright: © 2019 Benhalilou, Alsamri, Alneyadi, Athamneh, Alrashedi, Altamimi, Al Ghaheri, Eid and Iratni. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Rabah Iratni, United Arab Emirates University, Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates,