Functional profiling of Achillea fragrantissima (a perennial edible herb) against human cancer cells and potential nutraceutical impact in neutralizing cell proliferation by interfering with VEGF and NF-κB signaling pathways

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Mohammad Fahad Ullah
Aamir Ahmad
Showket H. Bhat
Faisel M. Abuduhier
Syed Khalid Mustafa
Tariq Al-Qirim


cancer, cell signaling, chemoprevention, functional food, pharmaceuticals


Chemoprevention with alternative approaches is emerging as a significant component of therapeutic regimen for the management of various diseases in human population including cancer. The concept of personalized nutrition is attracting considerable interest as an effective and affordable strategy in the prevention of chronic diseases. It is acknowledged that diet-derived agents or non-dietary natural products are not only the source of traditional medicines but also the lead compounds for currently used pharmaceuticals with excellent efficacy against a number of human diseases. Achillea species (Asteraceae) are considered as functional foods, which are important constituents of traditional medicine and commonly consumed as herbal tea or food additives worldwide. The studies presented herein demonstrate the effects of the hydro-methanolic extract of A. fragrantissima against a panel of cancer cells that include breast cancer (MDA-MB-231,MCF-7,SKBR3), pancreatic cancer (BxPC-3, MiaPaCa-2), prostate cancer (LNCaP,C4-2B,PC-3), and lung cancer (A549). The experimental results presented in the study show that the extract, which is rich in structurally diverse phytochemicals, effectively inhibits the cell growth and induces apoptotic cell death in human cancer cells. The treatment of the cancer cells with the extract resulted in a progressive decrease in cell migration and invasiveness, demonstrating an effective anti-metastatic activity. The mechanism by which the extract exerts its effects against cancer cells potentially engages NF-κB signaling and downregulation of its target cytokines such as VEGF. The study provides evidence that partially support the importance of functional foods and highlights their significance in disease prevention.

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