Black Cumin seeds and cancers of the blood

Dr. Weeks’ Comment:  Black cumin seeds are known to be highly anti-inflammatory which aids cancer patients since cancer spreads via inflammatory pathways.  But it doesn’t stop there.  Black cumin seeds also have specific anti-cancer effects against both cancer TUMOR cells and cancer STEM cells.  And, if that weren’t enough, black cumin seed sensitizes the cancer cell so that they are preferentially targeted by chemotherapy and radiation-  a fact which SHOULD interest all oncologists since it would make their proposed therapies more effective with less side effects!  Specifically we see below the effect of black cumin seeds (its component thymoquinone) against cancers of the blood: leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma and cancers related to EBV.  Eat the seeds! 

“…In conclusion, the results from the current study indicated that TQ could be a promising agent for the treatment of leukemia…”

 

Molecules. 2013 Sep 12;18(9):11219-40. doi: 10.3390/molecules180911219.

Thymoquinone induces mitochondria-mediated apoptosis in acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in vitro.

Abstract

There has been a growing interest in naturally occurring compounds from traditional medicine with anti-cancer potential. Nigella sativa (black seed) is one of the most widely studied plants. This annual herb grows in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea and India. Thymoquinone (TQ) is an active ingredient isolated from Nigella sativa. The anti-cancer effect of TQ, via the induction of apoptosis resulting from mitochondrial dysfunction, was assessed in an acute lymphocyte leukemic cell line (CEMss) with an IC50 of 1.5 µg/mL. A significant increase in chromatin condensation in the cell nucleus was observed using fluorescence analysis. The apoptosis was then confirmed by Annexin V and an increased number of cellular DNA breaks in treated cells were observed as a DNA ladder. Treatment of CEMss cells with TQ encouraged apoptosis with cell death-transducing signals by a down-regulation of Bcl-2 and up-regulation of Bax. Moreover, the significant generation of cellular ROS, HSP70 and activation of caspases 3 and 8 were also observed in the treated cells. The mitochondrial apoptosis was clearly associated with the S phase cell cycle arrest. In conclusion, the results from the current study indicated that TQ could be a promising agent for the treatment of leukemia.

1.

Clin Lymphoma Myeloma Leuk. 2014 Sep;14 Suppl:S46-55. doi: 10.1016/j.clml.2014.04.014.

Antiproliferative and proapoptotic effects of topotecan in combination with thymoquinone on acute myelogenous leukemia.

Khalife R1, Stephany el-H1, Tarras O1, Hodroj MH1, Rizk S2.

BACKGROUND:

Topotecan has shown promising antineoplastic activity in solid tumors and acute leukemia. Because of the primary dose-limiting toxicity of topotecan, it is necessary to identify other agents that can work synergistically with topotecan, potentially increasing its efficacy while limiting its toxicity. Many studies showed synergism in combination of topotecan with gemcitabine and bortezomib. Other studies report the increase in growth inhibition of gemcitabine or oxaliplatin when cells were preexposed to naturally occurring drugs such as thymoquinone. The aim of this project was to study the mode of action of topotecan along with thymoquinone, on survival and apoptosis pathways in acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) cell lines, and to investigate the potential synergistic effect of thymoquinone on topotecan.

RESULTS:

Thymoquinone and topotecan exhibited antiproliferative effects on U937 cells when applied separately. In combination, the reduction in proliferation was extremely significant with a major increase in the expression levels of Bax/Bcl2, p53, and caspase-3 and -9. Preexposure with thymoquinone resulted in an increase in cell growth inhibition compared with topotecan treatment.

CONCLUSION:

Thymoquinone, when combined with topotecan in noncytotoxic doses, produced synergistic antiproliferative and proapoptotic effects in AML cells. Preexposure to thymoquinone seems to be more effective than simultaneous application with topotecan.

2.  

Molecules. 2013 Sep 12;18(9):11219-40. doi: 10.3390/molecules180911219.

Thymoquinone induces mitochondria-mediated apoptosis in acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in vitro.

Salim LZ1, Mohan S, Othman R, Abdelwahab SI, Kamalidehghan B, Sheikh BY, Ibrahim MY.

Abstract

There has been a growing interest in naturally occurring compounds from traditional medicine with anti-cancer potential. Nigella sativa (black seed) is one of the most widely studied plants. This annual herb grows in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea and India. Thymoquinone (TQ) is an active ingredient isolated from Nigella sativa. The anti-cancer effect of TQ, via the induction of apoptosis resulting from mitochondrial dysfunction, was assessed in an acute lymphocyte leukemic cell line (CEMss) with an IC50 of 1.5 µg/mL. A significant increase in chromatin condensation in the cell nucleus was observed using fluorescence analysis. The apoptosis was then confirmed by Annexin V and an increased number of cellular DNA breaks in treated cells were observed as a DNA ladder. Treatment of CEMss cells with TQ encouraged apoptosis with cell death-transducing signals by a down-regulation of Bcl-2 and up-regulation of Bax. Moreover, the significant generation of cellular ROS, HSP70 and activation of caspases 3 and 8 were also observed in the treated cells. The mitochondrial apoptosis was clearly associated with the S phase cell cycle arrest. In conclusion, the results from the current study indicated that TQ could be a promising agent for the treatment of leukemia.

3.

PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e60540. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0060540. Epub 2013 Mar 28.

Phosphorylated IκBα predicts poor prognosis in activated B-cell lymphoma and its inhibition with thymoquinone induces apoptosis via ROS release.

Hussain AR1, Uddin S, Ahmed M, Al-Dayel F, Bavi PP, Al-Kuraya KS.

Abstract

Activated B-cell lymphoma (ABC), one of the three subtypes of Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma (DLBCL) has the worst survival rate after upfront chemotherapy and is characterized by constitutively activated NFκB. We therefore studied the role of NFκB In a cohort of clinical DLBCL samples and ABC cell lines. In our clinical tissue microarray cohort of DLBCL samples, p-IκBα was detected in 38.3% of ABC DLBCL and was an independent prognostic marker for poor survival. In vitro, we found that Thymoquinone (TQ), a natural compound isolated from Nigella sativa caused release of ROS in ABC cells. TQ-mediated release of ROS in turn inhibited NFκB activity by dephosphorylating IκBα and decreased translocation of p65 subunit of NFκB in the nuclear compartment in ABC cell lines. This led to inhibition of cell viability and induction of mitochondrial dependent apoptosis in ABC-DLBCL cell lines. Additionally, TQ treatment also caused up-regulation of death receptor 5 (DR5), however, up-regulation of DR5 did not play a role in TQ-induced apoptosis. Finally, combination of sub-optimal doses of TQ and TRAIL induced efficient apoptosis in ABC-DLBCL cell lines. These data show that p-IκBα can be used as a prognostic marker and target for therapy in this aggressive sub-type of DLBCL and TQ may play an important role in the management of DLBCL in the future.

4.

Front Biosci (Elite Ed). 2013 Jan 1;5:706-19.

Thymoquinone induces apoptosis in malignant T-cells via generation of ROS.

Dergarabetian EM1, Ghattass KI, El-Sitt SB, Al-Mismar RM, El-Baba CO, Itani WS, Melhem NM, El-Hajj HA, Bazarbachi AA, Schneider-Stock R, Gali-Muhtasib HU.

Abstract

We show that HTLV-1 negative leukemia cells are more sensitive to TQ due to higher levels of drug-induced reactive oxygen species (ROS). PreG1 population in HTLV-1 negative Jurkat and CEM was higher than HTLV-1 transformed HuT-102 and MT-2 cells. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were more resistant. Hoechst staining indicated more features of apoptosis, namely nuclear blebs and shrunken nuclei in HuT-102 than Jurkat. A greater depletion of the antioxidant enzyme glutathione occurred in Jurkat, which consequently led to an increase in ROS, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, cytochrome c release, activation of caspases 3 and 9, and cleavage of PARP. Treatment with z-VAD-fmk partially reversed TQ-induced apoptosis, suggesting a caspase-dependent mechanism. N-acetyl cysteine prevented apoptosis providing evidence that cell death is ROS-dependent. Catalase prevented apoptosis to a lesser extent than NAC. In summary, TQ induces apoptosis in adult T cell leukemia/lymphoma by decreasing glutathione and increasing ROS, and levels of ROS underlie the differential cellular response to TQ. Our data suggest a potential therapeutic role for TQ in sensitizing HTLV-I-negative T-cell lymphomas.

6.

Integr Cancer Ther. 2013 May;12(3):257-63. doi: 10.1177/1534735412458827. Epub 2012 Oct 21.

Thymoquinone efficiently inhibits the survival of EBV-infected B cells and alters EBV gene expression.

Zihlif MA1, Mahmoud IS, Ghanim MT, Zreikat MS, Alrabadi N, Imraish A, Odeh F, Abbas MA, Ismail SI.

Abstract

Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) is a human virus with oncogenic potentials that is implicated in various human diseases and malignancies. In this study, the modulator activity of the potent herbal extract drug thymoquinone on EBV was assessed in vitro. Thymoquinone was tested for cytotoxicity on human cells of lymphoblastoid cells, Raji Burkitt’s lymphoma, DG-75 Burkitt’s lymphoma, peripheral blood mononuclear cells, and periodontal ligament fibroblast. Apoptosis induction was analyzed via TUNEL assay and activity studies of caspase-3. The effect of thymoquinone on EBV gene expression was determined using real-time polymerase chain reaction. We report here, for the first time, a promising selective inhibitory affect of thymoquinone on EBV-infected B cell lines in vitro, compared with lower activity on EBV negative B cell line and very low toxicity on human peripheral blood mononuclear cells and periodontal ligament fibroblasts. Moreover, the drug was found to efficiently suppress the RNA expression of EBNA2, LMP1, and EBNA1 genes. Specifically, EBNA2 expression levels were the most affected indicating that this gene might have a major contribution to thymoquinone potency against EBV infected cells. Overall, our results suggest that thymoquinone has the potential to suppress the growth of EBV-infected B cells efficiently.

7.

Lipids Health Dis. 2011 Dec 16;10:236. doi: 10.1186/1476-511X-10-236.

Thymoquinone decreases F-actin polymerization and the proliferation of human multiple myeloma cells by suppressing STAT3 phosphorylation and Bcl2/Bcl-XL expression.

Badr G1, Mohany M, Abu-Tarboush F.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Thymoquinone (TQ), the major active component of the medicinal herb Nigella sativa Linn., has been described as a chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic compound.

METHODS:

In this study, we investigated the effect of TQ on survival, actin cytoskeletal reorganization, proliferation and signal transduction in multiple myeloma (MM) cells.

RESULTS:

We found that TQ induces growth arrest in both MDN and XG2 cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner. TQ also inhibited CXC ligand-12 (CXCL-12)-mediated actin polymerization and cellular proliferation, as shown by flow cytometry. The signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) and B-cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2) signaling pathways may play important roles in the malignant transformation of a number of human malignancies. The constitutive activation of the STAT3 and Bcl-2 pathways is frequently observed in several cancer cell lines, including MM cells. Using flow cytometry, we found that TQ markedly decreased STAT3 phosphorylation and Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL expression without modulating STAT5 phosphorylation in MM cells. Using western blotting, we confirmed the inhibitory effect of TQ on STAT3 phosphorylation and Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL expression.

CONCLUSIONS:

Taken together, our data suggests that TQ could potentially be applied toward the treatment of MM and other malignancies.

8.

Invest New Drugs. 2012 Oct;30(5):1813-9. doi: 10.1007/s10637-011-9734-1. Epub 2011 Sep 1.

Anti-neoplastic agent thymoquinone induces degradation of α and β tubulin proteins in human cancer cells without affecting their level in normal human fibroblasts.

Alhosin M1, Ibrahim A, Boukhari A, Sharif T, Gies JP, Auger C, Schini-Kerth VB.

Abstract

The microtubule-targeting agents derived from natural products, such as vinca-alkaloids and taxanes are an important family of efficient anti-cancer drugs with therapeutic benefits in both haematological and solid tumors. These drugs interfere with the assembly of microtubules of α/β tubulin heterodimers without altering their expression level. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of thymoquinone (TQ), a natural product present in black cumin seed oil known to exhibit putative anti-cancer activities, on α/β tubulin expression in human astrocytoma cells (cell line U87, solid tumor model) and in Jurkat cells (T lymphoblastic leukaemia cells). TQ induced a concentration- and time-dependent degradation of α/β tubulin in both cancer cell types. This degradation was associated with the up-regulation of the tumor suppressor p73 with subsequent induction of apoptosis. Interestingly, TQ had no effect on α/β tubulin protein expression in normal human fibroblast cells, which were used as a non-cancerous cell model. These data indicate that TQ exerts a selective effect towards α/β tubulin in cancer cells. In conclusion, the present findings indicate that TQ is a novel anti-microtubule drug which targets the level of α/β tubulin proteins in cancer cells. Furthermore, they highlight the interest of developing anti-cancer therapies that target directly tubulin rather than microtubules dynamics.

9.

Free Radic Biol Med. 2011 Apr 15;50(8):978-87. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2010.12.034. Epub 2011 Jan 4.

Thymoquinone suppresses growth and induces apoptosis via generation of reactive oxygen species in primary effusion lymphoma.

Hussain AR1, Ahmed M, Ahmed S, Manogaran P, Platanias LC, Alvi SN, Al-Kuraya KS, Uddin S.

Abstract

We provide evidence that thymoquinone (TQ), a natural compound isolated from Nigella sativa, induces growth inhibition and apoptosis in several primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) cell lines. Our data demonstrate that TQ treatment results in down-regulation of constitutive activation of AKT via generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and it causes conformational changes in Bax protein, leading to loss of mitochondrial membrane potential and release of cytochrome c to the cytosol. This leads to activation of caspase-9, caspase-3, and polyadenosine 5′-diphosphate ribose polymerase cleavage, leading to caspase-dependent apoptosis. Pretreatment of PEL cells with N-acetylcysteine, a scavenger of ROS, prevented TQ-mediated effects. In addition, subtoxic doses of TQ sensitized PEL cells to TRAIL via up-regulation of DR5. Altogether, these findings demonstrate that TQ is a potent inducer of apoptosis in PEL cells via release of ROS. They also raise the possibility that incorporation of TQ in treatment regimens for primary effusion lymphomas may provide a novel approach to sensitizing malignant cells and provide a molecular basis for such future translational efforts.

10.

Cell Signal. 2011 Jan;23(1):152-60. doi: 10.1016/j.cellsig.2010.08.015. Epub 2010 Aug 31.

Down-regulation of cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase PDE1A is the key event of p73 and UHRF1 deregulation in thymoquinone-induced acute lymphoblastic leukemia cell apoptosis.

Abusnina A1, Alhosin M, Keravis T, Muller CD, Fuhrmann G, Bronner C, Lugnier C.

Abstract

Thymoquinone (TQ), the active principle of Nigella sativa black seeds, has anti-proliferative properties on numerous cancer cell types. Others and we have previously reported that TQ acts as agent that triggers cell cycle arrest and apoptosis through either a p53- or p73-dependent pathway. However, the immediate targets recruited upon TQ-induced cytotoxicity have not yet been clearly identified. We therefore asked whether cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases (PDEs) could be involved in TQ-triggered pro-apoptotic reactivity; PDEs are regulators of intracellular levels of cyclic nucleotides and therefore can modulate cAMP and cGMP-dependent cell death pathways. Our results showed that TQ specifically repressed PDE1A expression in the acute lymphoblastic leukemia Jurkat cell line. This effect is concomitant with the previously described sequential deregulation of the expression of the tumor suppressor protein p73 and the epigenetic integrator UHRF1 (Ubiquitin-like, PHD Ring Finger 1). Interestingly, RNA-interference knock-down of PDE1A expression as well as decreased PDE1A expression induced growth inhibition of Jurkat cells, cell cycle arrest and apoptosis through an activation of p73 and a repression of UHRF1. Conversely, PDE1A re-expression counteracted the cellular pro-apoptotic effects of TQ in association with a p73 repression and UHRF1 re-expression. Altogether, our results show that TQ induced an initial down-regulation of PDE1A with a subsequent down-regulation of UHRF1 via a p73-dependent mechanism. This study further proposes that PDE1A might be involved in the epigenetic code inheritance by regulating, via p73, the epigenetic integrator UHRF1. Our findings also suggest that a forced inhibition of PDE1A expression might be a new therapeutic strategy for the management of acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

11.

Biochem Pharmacol. 2010 May 1;79(9):1251-60. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2009.12.015. Epub 2009 Dec 22.

Induction of apoptosis by thymoquinone in lymphoblastic leukemia Jurkat cells is mediated by a p73-dependent pathway which targets the epigenetic integrator UHRF1.

Alhosin M1, Abusnina A, Achour M, Sharif T, Muller C, Peluso J, Chataigneau T, Lugnier C, Schini-Kerth VB, Bronner C, Fuhrmann G.

Abstract

The salvage anti-tumoral pathway which implicates the p53-related p73 gene is not yet fully characterized. We therefore attempted to identify the up- and down-stream events involved in the activation of the p73-dependent pro-apoptotic pathway, by focusing on the anti-apoptotic and epigenetic integrator UHRF1 which is essential for cell cycle progression. For this purpose, we analyzed the effects of a known anti-neoplastic drug, thymoquinone (TQ), on the p53-deficient acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) Jurkat cell line. Our results showed that TQ inhibits the proliferation of Jurkat cells and induces G1 cell cycle arrest in a dose-dependent manner. Moreover, TQ treatment triggers programmed cell death, production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and alteration of the mitochondrial membrane potential (DeltaPsim). TQ-induced apoptosis, confirmed by the presence of hypodiploid G0/G1 cells, is associated with a rapid and sharp re-expression of p73 and dose-dependent changes of the levels of caspase-3 cleaved subunits. These modifications are accompanied by a dramatic down-regulation of UHRF1 and two of its main partners, namely DNMT1 and HDAC1, which are all involved in the epigenetic code regulation. Knockdown of p73 expression restores UHRF1 expression, reactivates cell cycle progression and inhibits TQ-induced apoptosis. Altogether our results showed that TQ mediates its growth inhibitory effects on ALL p53-mutated cells via the activation of a p73-dependent mitochondrial and cell cycle checkpoint signaling pathway which subsequently targets UHRF1.

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