Saffron also blocked the depletion in the number of cells positive for TUNEL (terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase–mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate nick-end labeling) and M30 CytoDeath in liver tissues of DEN-treated rats. In vitro experiments carried out using HepG2 cells also confirmed these findings and showed inhibition of
nuclear factor-kappa B activation, increased cleavage of caspase-3, MAPK Inhibitor Library cell line as well as DNA damage and cell cycle arrest upon saffron treatment. Conclusion: This study provides evidence that saffron exerts a significant chemopreventive effect against liver cancer through inhibition of cell proliferation and induction of apoptosis. This report also shows some evidence that saffron protects rat liver from cancer via modulating oxidative damage and suppressing inflammatory response. (HEPATOLOGY 2011;) Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fifth most common cancer and the third leading cause of cancer mortality in the world. Chronic infection with hepatitis B click here and C are the major risk factors for HCC worldwide. Other factors that contribute to the formation of HCC include exposure to environmental carcinogens, iron overload, fatty liver disease, and alcohol abuse.1 Diethylnitrosamine (DEN) is one of the most important environmental carcinogens and is present in tobacco smoke, cosmetics,
gasoline, and various processed foods such as milk and meat products.1 DEN is also commonly used to induce lesions in rats that mimic different types of benign and malignant tumors in humans.2 Given the limited treatments available, preventive control approaches have been considered among the best strategies to protect against cancer. Cancer chemoprotection is based on the use of exogenous phytochemicals to enhance endogenous mechanisms against various stages of cancer development.3 Lately, there has been a lot of
interest in exploring the chemopreventive properties of natural herbs and plants. Saffron is a naturally derived plant product from the Sucrase dried stigma of the Crocus sativus flower (family Iridaceae) that may have biologically useful properties. In fact, saffron extract and its biologically active compounds, including crocin, crocetin, carotene, and safranal, have been shown both in vitro and in vivo to possess antioxidant, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and memory-improving properties.4-6 Saffron is also used in folk medicine as an antispasmodic, antidepressant, and aphrodisiac.4 Furthermore, it is one of the most commonly used species around the world for flavoring and coloring foods.4 Saffron has recently gained considerable interest for its capacity to interfere with cancer at initiation and promotion stages as well as for cancer treatment.