Objective: Because the current cancer treatment success rate is not sufficient, plants have been gaining importance as a possible source for anti-cancer compounds. This study aimed to investigate both the genotoxic and cytotoxic activities of methanol extracts of Pelargonium quercetorum Agnew (P. quercetorum), which is traditionally used for its
antihelminthic activity, but has not yet been studied for its effect in breast cancer cells.
Methods: In this study, the cyto-genotoxic activities of methanol extracts of Pelargonium quercetorum were investigated in human breast cancer cells (MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231). The cytotoxic effect of the extract on these cells was evaluated by MTT and ATP viability assays. The mode of cell death (apoptosis/necrosis) was determined using luorescence microscopy and biochemical methods. Genotoxic activity was studied with Comet assay. In addition, the
total phenolic content and antioxidant capacity were determined by the Folin-Ciocalteu and ABTS [2,2'-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulphonic acid)] methods, respectively.
Results: Results of this study reveal that Pelargonium quercetorum has a large total phenolic content and high antioxidant capacity. Pelargonium quercetorum induced anti-growth effects in a dose-dependent manner in cancer cells. The extract killed the cells by apoptosis as evidenced by the presence of pyknotic nucleus and annexin V-FITC positivity. The extract also exerted genotoxic activity at relatively low doses.
Conclusion: These results suggest that Pelargonium quercetorum induces apoptosis-like cell death by causing DNA ells.