Black Seed Oil Compound Kills Prostate Cancer Cells in Lab Study
Black seed oil from the Nigella sativa plant is found to kill prostate cancer cells, found in lab studies. Researchers from Tulane University have shown that Thymoquinone (TQ) has anti-cancer properties that suppress the growth and lead to death of aggressive prostate cancer cells. The discovery comes from the scientists desire to find natural compounds with anti-cancer properties.
According to Dr. Debasis Mondal who was part of the research team, “Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is becoming very important as an adjunct therapy in cancer patients, both to ameliorate the side effects of chemotherapy as well as to enhance their anti-tumor effects. The low side effect profiles of natural compounds is also an important aspect in their therapeutic utility as an adjunct to anti-tumor therapy.”
The researchers recognized that Thymoquinone in black seed oil (Nigella sativa) has a similar effect to the compound ubiquinone or co-enzyme Q that is also an essential nutrient produced by the body. They found that Thymoquinone rapidly generates reactive oxygen species (ROS) in particularly aggressive types of LNCaP and C4-2B prostate cancer cells. Cancer cells that are resistant to chemotherapy are found to have high levels of glutathione (GSH) that also decreased with exposure to the black seed oil compound.
The research suggests it is the combined action of ROS induction and inhibition of glutathione levels from Thymoquinone found in black seed oil that leads to death of prostate cancer cells. Dr. Steven R. Goodman, Editor-in-Chief of Experimental Biology and Medicine says the researchers… “have demonstrated that Thymoquinone efficiently killed hormone-dependent and hormone-independent prostate cancer cells. The mechanism appears to be that Thymoquinone induces oxidative stress and suppresses GSH levels. This suggests that oxidative stress may lead to decreased tumor growth and increased cell death in highly aggressive forms of prostate cancer."
Thymoquinone, found in black seed oil (Nigella sativa) has been shown to kill pancreatic cancer cells, colon cancer, and has been examined for its potential in the treatment of breast cancer. The new study demonstrated that Thymoquinone killed aggressive prostate cancer cells in lab studies and may prove to be an adjunctive therapy that can treat aggressive forms of prostate cancer.
P. S. Koka, D. Mondal, M. Schultz, A. B. Abdel-Mageed, K. C. Agrawal. Studies on molecular mechanisms of growth inhibitory effects of thymoquinone against prostate cancer cells: role of reactive oxygen species. Experimental Biology and Medicine, 2010; 235 (6): 751 DOI: 10.1258/ebm.2010.009369