BT-474 Breast Cancer Cell Apoptosis Induced by Crocin, a Saffron Carotenoid

  • Nassim Faridi Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University Tehran, Iran
  • Hamid Heidarzadeh Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University Tehran, Iran
  • Mohammad Ali Mohagheghi Cancer Research Center of Cancer Institute, Imam Khomeini Hospital Complex, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
  • S. Zahra Bathaie Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University Tehran, Iran
Keywords: HER2, MTT Assay, Flow Cytometry, UPR, Caspase-9, Anticancer


Background: Saffron carotenoids have been known as powerful phytochemicals in breast cancer treatment. The purpose of this study was to investigate the anti-cancer properties of an important saffron carotenoid, crocin, on BT-474 which is a known HER2+ breast cancer cell line. Methods: The effect of crocin on cell viability was investigated using MTT assay. Apoptosis induction was studied via flow cytometry and Western blotting of caspase-9 and cleaved caspase-9. Involvement of unfolded protein response (UPR) was also investigated via RT-PCR study of the XBP1 gene. Results: The results showed that crocin treatment decreases the viability of BT-474 cells and induces early and late apoptosis in these cells. The mechanism of crocin action was through the induction of caspase-9 expression and cleavage. Furthermore, we found that crocin induced XBP1 gene splicing in these cells. Conclusion: The present study provides important evidence that crocin induces apoptosis in BT-474 cells. In addition, the activation of UPR may play a role in the anticancer effects of crocin.


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How to Cite
Faridi N, Heidarzadeh H, Mohagheghi MA, Bathaie SZ. BT-474 Breast Cancer Cell Apoptosis Induced by Crocin, a Saffron Carotenoid. Basic Clin Cancer Res. 11(1):5-15.
Original Articles