Different Cytotoxic Effects of Vetiver Oil on Three Types of Cancer Cells, Mainly Targeting CNR2 on TNBC

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Cancer Chemoprevention Research Center, Faculty of Pharmacy, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Sekip Utara II, 55281 Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

2 Herbal and Traditional Medicine Research Center, Ministry of Health, Republic of Indonesia.

3 Faculty of Pharmacy, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Sekip Utara II, 55281 Yogyakarta, Indonesia.


Objective: To investigate vetiver oil (VO) selectivity effects on several cancer cell types and identify the β-caryophyllene role and mechanisms to prevent cancer development. Methods: Cytotoxic effects of VO on three types of cancer cells (WiDr, 4T1, T47D) were determined using MTT assay. VO’s effects on the cell cycle and apoptosis were analyzed using flow cytometry. Intracellular Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) of cells after treatment with VO was observed with DCFDA staining. Bioinformatics study and molecular docking were used to determine the molecular targets of VO. Results: VO contained various essential oils in which β-caryophyllene was the most abundant. 4T1 cells performed the lowest IC50 value. WiDr and 4T1 cells showed an arrest in the G2/M phase, while T47D showed an increase of sub G1 population after VO treatment. On the other hand, apoptosis was only observed in WiDr and T47D cells. ROS levels were increased significantly in WiDr and T47D cells but not in 4T1 cells. Cannabinoids CB2 receptor (CNR2) was highly expressed in 4T1 cells and commonly exhibited a low survival rate on Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) patients. CNR2 was the notable target of β-caryophyllene and performed agonistic interaction, which might have contributed to its cytotoxic activity against 4T1 cells. Conclusion: The molecular interaction of VO cannabinoid agonists and the CNR2 receptor was the underlying cause of VO cytotoxicity, which is a VO distinction on TNBC. Therefore, VO is better suited for use as an anti-cancer agent in TNBC cells.


Main Subjects

Volume 23, Issue 1
January 2022
Pages 241-251
  • Receive Date: 26 August 2021
  • Revise Date: 30 September 2021
  • Accept Date: 12 December 2021
  • First Publish Date: 01 January 2022