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EVALUATION OF THE ANTITUMOR ACTIVITY OF THE MELALEUCA ALTERNIFOLIA ESSENTIAL OIL USING AN IN VITRO BREAST CANCER CELL MODEL

CHARLES ELIAS ASSMANN, BEATRIZ DA SILVA ROSA BONADIMAN, FRANCINE CARLA CADONÁ e orientado por IVANA BEATRICE MÂNICA DA CRUZ e orientado por IVANA BEATRICE MÂNICA DA CRUZ

Human ageing brings a considerable increase in the number of chronic degenerative and chronic non-transmissible diseases, such as cancer, which has a high incidence among elderly people. Among elderly women, the most incident cancer is breast cancer. Breast cancer is the neoplasia with the highest incidence and mortality among women in the world, after non-melanoma skin cancer. Tumor progression is classified into different stages, from 0 to IV. At stage III, cancer can spread through the mammary and adjacent tissues, leading to the development of Locally Advanced Breast Cancer (LABC). LABC can evolve from swelling and redness in the mammary tissue to the formation of wounds and exposed lesions. Although there are several therapeutic strategies being used to treat LABC, patient’s survival is low and topical treatments are not well studied. Thus, the search for new therapeutic agents is necessary. In this context, Melaleuca alternifolia essential oil, also known as tea tree oil (TTO), can be mentioned as a possible candidate for the development of new therapeutic agents based in natural products. Several important properties are being related to TTO, such as anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal activity, and antitumor effect on melanoma cancer cell lines. The aim of this study was to evaluate in vitro the antitumor effect of M. alternifolia essential oil on a breast cancer cell model. An in vitro study was performed using a breast cancer cell line (MCF-7). MCF-7 cells were exposed to different TTO concentrations to investigate its antitumor capacity (100, 300 and 600 μg/mL). Several parameters were investigated: cell cycle, gene expression and apoptotic pathway modulation, colony formation and cell growth curve analyses. The results of the cell cycle modulation analysis revealed arrestment of cells in the S phase of the cell cycle. Colony formation and cell growth analyses displayed an antiproliferative capacity of the essential oil. Furthermore, apoptotic and gene regulatory analysis displayed that TTO induced apoptosis due to the expression of genes related to programmed cell death. In conclusion, the results suggest that the M. alternifolia essential oil has antitumor activity on breast cancer cells of the MCF-7 cell line. In this sense, the oil could be used for the development of new therapeutic agents, mainly topic for LABC, in order to increase the survival rate and patients’ quality of life.

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