Thymoquinone Crosstalks with DR5 to Sensitize TRAIL Resistance and Stimulate ROS-Mediated Cancer Apoptosis

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Hormones, Medical Research Division, National Research Centre, Cairo, Egypt.

2 Egyptian Company for Blood Transfusion Services (EgyBlood), 51 Wezaret El-Zeraa Street, VACSERA, Agouza, Giza, Egypt.

3 Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Helwan University, Egypt.


Objective: Cancer treatment using a targeted inducer of apoptosis like tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) faced the obstacle of resistance, thus providing a plus drug like Thymoquinone (TQ) could be of great interest to tackle breast cancer cells. The aim of the present work is to examine the genetic modulation impacts of the TRAIL receptors and apoptotic markers upon the combinatorial remedy of TRAIL plus TQ on human breast cancer cell lines. Methods: To achieve this rationale, the protein content-based cytotoxicity using SRB assay, as well as the genetic expressions of the TRAIL receptors (DR4 and DR5) and apoptotic markers (Bcl-2, Cas-8, and FADD) using real time qRT-PCR technique were preceded against breast cancer MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cancerous cell lines. Results: The current study showed that the combination therapy of TQ+TRAIL significantly inhibited the protein content-based proliferation of MDA-MB-231 cells more than MCF-7 cells. The synergistic effect of them significantly up-regulated the genetic expressions of DR4, DR5, Cas-8, and FADD genes and inhibited the genetic expression of the Bcl-2 gene in the proposed cell lines treated for 24 h. The induction of the apoptotic genes using the combined therapy was stimulated by the elevation of the reactive oxygen species (ROS); nitric oxide (NO) and malondialdehyde (MDA) levels. Conclusions: The synergistic influence between TQ which induced the DR5 and TRAIL, facilitating the connection between TRAIL and its receptors on the cancerous cell membrane. Hence, the proposed combination therapy induced the ROS-mediated apoptotic stimulus.


Main Subjects

Volume 22, Issue 9
September 2021
Pages 2855-2865
  • Receive Date: 26 May 2021
  • Revise Date: 31 July 2021
  • Accept Date: 29 August 2021
  • First Publish Date: 01 September 2021