Bone Cancer and the Seed

Dr. Weeks’ Comment: Bone cancer in general and multiple myeloma in particular terrifies people. Here is what a simple seed – black cumin seed – can do to help!


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

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



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


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


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.


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

PLoS One. 2011;6(9):e23741. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0023741. Epub 2011 Sep 1.

Thymoquinone inhibits the CXCL12-induced chemotaxis of multiple myeloma cells and increases their susceptibility to Fas-mediated apoptosis.


In multiple myeloma (MM), malignant plasma cells reside in the bone marrow, where they accumulate in close contact with stromal cells. The mechanisms responsible for the chemotaxis of malignant plasma cells are still poorly understood. Thus, we investigated the mechanisms involved in the chemotaxis of MDN and XG2 MM cell lines. Both cell lines strongly expressed CCR9, CXCR3 and CXCR4 chemokine receptors but only migrated toward CXCL12. Activation of CXCR4 by CXCL12 resulted in the association of CXCR4 with CD45 and activation of PLCβ3, AKT, RhoA, IκBα and ERK1/2. Using siRNA-silencing techniques, we showed CD45/CXCR4 association is essential for CXCL12-induced migration of MM cells. Thymoquinone (TQ), the major active component of the medicinal herb Nigella sativa Linn, has been described as a chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic compound. TQ treatment strongly inhibited CXCL12-mediated chemotaxis in MM cell lines as well as primary cells isolated from MM patients, but not normal PBMCs. Moreover, TQ significantly down-regulated CXCR4 expression and CXCL12-mediated CXCR4/CD45 association in MM cells. Finally, TQ also induced the relocalization of cytoplasmic Fas/CD95 to the membrane of MM cells and increased CD95-mediated apoptosis by 80%. In conclusion, we demonstrate the potent anti-myeloma activity of TQ, providing a rationale for further clinical evaluation.


Br J Pharmacol. 2010 Oct;161(3):541-54. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2010.00874.x.

Thymoquinone inhibits proliferation, induces apoptosis and chemosensitizes human multiple myeloma cells through suppression of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 activation pathway.



Constitutive activation of the signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) pathway is frequently encountered in several human cancers including multiple myeloma (MM). Thus, agents that suppress STAT3 phosphorylation have a potential for treatment of MM. In the present report, we investigated whether thymoquinone (TQ), the main component isolated from the medicinal plant Nigella sativa, modulated the STAT3 signalling pathway in MM cells.


The effect of TQ on both constitutive and IL-6-induced STAT3 activation, associated protein kinases, STAT3-regulated gene products involved in proliferation, survival and angiogenesis, cellular proliferation and apoptosis in MM cells, was investigated.


We found that TQ inhibited both constitutive and IL-6-inducible STAT3 phosphorylation which correlated with the inhibition of c-Src and JAK2 activation. Vanadate reversed the TQ-induced down-regulation of STAT3 activation, suggesting the involvement of a protein tyrosine phosphatase. Indeed, we found that TQ can induce the expression of Src homology-2 phosphatase 2 that correlated with suppression of STAT3 activation. TQ also down-regulated the expression of STAT3-regulated gene products, such as cyclin D1, Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, survivin, Mcl-1 and vascular endothelial growth factor. Finally, TQ induced the accumulation of cells in sub-G1 phase, inhibited proliferation and induced apoptosis, as indicated by poly ADP ribose polymerase cleavage. TQ also significantly potentiated the apoptotic effects of thalidomide and bortezomib in MM cells.


Our study has identified STAT3 signalling as a target of TQ and has thus raised its potential application in the prevention and treatment of MM and other cancers.

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