Background: Cancer chemoprevention is a proven effective strategy for oral squamous cell carcinomas (OSCCs). The present study was designed to investigate the effects of crocin, a potential chemopreventive agent, on growth and DNA and RNA content in a human tongue squamous cell carcinoma cell line, Tca8113.
Methods: Tca8113 cells were treated with crocin for 24, 48, 72, and 96 h at concentrations of 0.1, 0.2, 0.4, and 0.8 mM. Tumor cell viability was investigated using the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl-tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. In addition, Tca8113 cells were treated with 0.4 mM crocin and cytotoxic effects as an inducer of apoptosis were analyzed using flow cytometry. Furthermore, acridine orange (AO) staining and observation using laser scanning confocal microscopy (LSCM) were used to determine the effects of the drug on nucleic acid synthesis.
Results: Crocin decreased Tca8113 cell viability and growth remarkably at 24, 48, 72, and 96 h, in a concentration-dependent manner (P<0.05). In addition, 0.4 mM crocin significantly induced both early and late apoptosis of Tca8113 cells. Moreover, the cellular DNA and RNA content was significantly downregulated by 0.4 mM crocin compared with the negative control (P<0.01).
Conclusions: Our observations support the feasibility of applying crocin as a chemoprophylactic agent and treatment for OSCCs.