Agarwood Branch Ethanolic Extract Affects Expression of Apoptotic Genes in MCF-7 Breast Cancer Cells


  • Phirdaous Abbas
  • Nurhusna Samsudin
  • Nur Iffah Ishak
  • Hamzah Mohd Salleh
  • Saripah Salbiah Syed Abd. Azziz
  • Ma'an Fahmi Rashid Al-Khatib
  • Yumi Zuhanis Has-Yun Hashim International Islamic University Malaysia



Breast cancer is one of the most common death causes among women worldwide. Treatment is usually associated with chemically synthesized drugs with serious side effects which shifted the attention of cancer researchers towards development of natural product alternatives. Ethnopharmaceutical evidence showed that Aquilaria spp. have been used to treat a wide range of disorders. However, scientific evidence is still lacking to support and extend the traditional applications to cancer. This study aims to investigate differential gene expression (DEG) of MCF-7 cells treated with agarwood branch ethanolic extract (ABEE) to provide insights into its cell growth-inhibiting effects. Methods: cDNA synthesis from RNA of MCF-7 cells treated with the 8 µg/ml ABEE and DMSO-treated cells (control), respectively, were subjected to RT2 Profiler Array Human Cell Death Finder™ containing 84 genes related to cell death mechanism. Pathway analysis was carried out using the online KEGG Pathway tool. Results: 48 genes that met the threshold fold regulation cut-off of 2 and p < 0.05; 41 DEGs from the list were down-regulated, and 7 were up-regulated. Pathway analysis suggested ABEE may have caused apoptosis of MCF-7 cells through extrinsic and/or intrinsic apoptotic pathways, including activation of p53 that could be the first step towards apoptotic elimination of the cancer cells upon treatment of ABEE.  Conclusion: Results obtained supported the growth inhibition effects of ABEE against MCF-7 cells that can serve as the basis for further work towards extending the use of agarwood as cancer therapeutics.






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