Crocin, synergistically enhances paclitaxel –mediated apoptosis in breast cancer cell line

Hassan Dariushnejad,1,* Vajiheh ghorbanzadeh,2

1. Department of Medical Biotechnology, Faculty of Medicine, Lorestan University of Medical Sciences, Khorramabad, Iran.



Herbal-derived medicines have introduced as sources of novel drugs due to minimum systemic side effects. crocin is a pharmacologically active component of crocus sativus (saffron) has showed effective chemotherapeutic effects on different cancers. paclitaxel is a generally chemotherapeutic agent as the first line treatments for remedy of breast cancer but this agent shows toxicity adverse side effects including gastrointestinal toxicity, hypersensitivity, neurotoxicity and myelo suppression. combination therapy using different chemotherapeutic agents can be desirable option for overcoming this problem. here, we investigated the impact of combination therapy of crocin with paclitaxel in inhibition of proliferation and induction of apoptosis in t47d breast cancer cells.


The cytotoxic effects of crocin and paclitaxel, alone or in combination were assessed using mtt assay and combination index analysis calculated via chou-talalay method and compusyn software. the effects of treatments on the cell proliferation was determined by trypan blue assay. elisa cell death assay was used for measurement of apoptosis.


Ic50 values of paclitaxel and crocin were 41.2 and 128.7 µm for t47d cells at 24 h, respectively. surprisingly, combination treatment significantly lowered the ic50 values in a synergic manner in t47d cell line. moreover, treatment with a mixture of two agents had more growth inhibition effect relative to the monotherapy. results of apoptosis assay showed that the cytotoxic effects are related to the enhancement of apoptosis.


Our study suggests that crocin synergistically enhances the cytotoxic effect of paclitaxel in breast cancer cell line and therefore may be useful to overcome chemoresistance and toxic effects of breast cancer patients.


Breast cancer, crocin, paclitaxel, combination, apoptosis