Effects of Damnacanthal and Nordamnacanthal on Proliferation, Apoptosis, and Migration of Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma Cells

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Oral and craniofacial Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

2 Faculty of Dentistry, MAHSA University, Bandar Saujana Putra, 42610 Jenjarom, Selangor, Malaysia.

3 School of Biotechnology, Faculty of Bioresource and Food Industry, University Sultan Zainal Abidin, 22200, Terengganu, Malaysia.

4 Oral Cancer Research and Coordinating Center, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

5 Faculty of Applied Sciences, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), 40450, Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia.


Cancer is one of the most common causes of death in the developed world, with one-third of people diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime. Oral cancer commonly occurs involving the buccal mucosa (cheeks), tongue, floor of the mouth and lip. It is one of the most devastating and disfiguring of malignancies. Morinda citrifolia L., commonly known as ‘noni’, belongs to the Rubiaceae family. It is native to the Pacific islands, Hawaii, Caribbean, Asia and Australia. The plant displays broad curative effects in pharmacological studies. Damnacanthal (DAM) and Nordamnacanthal (NDAM), anthraquinone compounds isolated from the roots of Morinda citrifolia L., has been used for the treatment of several chronic diseases including cancer. The objectives of this study were to evaluate cytotoxicity, morphological changes, cell death mode (apoptosis/necrosis), and cell migration induced by DAM and NDAM on the most common type of oral cancer, oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC)cells. Anti-proliferative effects of these compounds against OSCC cell lines were determined by MTT assay. The mode of cell death was analysed by phase contrast and fluorescent microscopy as well as flow cytometry. In addition, cell migration was assessed. The results showed that DAM and NDAM exerted cytotoxicity against OSCC cells with IC50 values of 1.9 to >30 μg/ml after 72 h treatment. Maximum growth inhibition among the tested cell lines for both compounds was observed in H400 cells, and thus it was selected for further study. The study demonstrated inhibition of H400 OSCC cell proliferation, marked apoptotic morphological changes, induction of early apoptosis, and inhibition of cell migration by DAM and NDAM. Therefore, this information suggests that these compounds from noni have potential for used as anti tumor agents for oral cancer therapy.


Main Subjects

Volume 18, Issue 12
December 2017
Pages 3333-3341
  • Receive Date: 26 July 2017
  • Revise Date: 09 October 2017
  • Accept Date: 18 November 2017
  • First Publish Date: 01 December 2017