Cytotoxicity screening of Thymus vulgaris L. in breast cancer: in vitro study

Bıtgen N., Onder G. O., Baran M., Yay A. H.

TOXICOLOGY RESEARCH, vol.12, no.4, pp.584-590, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 12 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1093/toxres/tfad052
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Aqualine, BIOSIS, Chemical Abstracts Core, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, Pollution Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.584-590
  • Keywords: apoptosis, autophagy, breast cancer, migration, Thymus vulgaris
  • Erciyes University Affiliated: Yes


Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths due to its aggressive course. There is an increasing need for alternative therapy strategies, including herbal medications, to treat the disease because of its high incidence. Medicinal plants, such as Thymus vulgaris L. (T. vulgaris), have recently attracted great interest due to the antitumor properties of their extracts. The purpose of this investigation was to ascertain whether T. vulgaris had any cytotoxic effects on two different breast cancer cell lines. MTT test was applied to evaluate the effect of T. vulgaris on cell viability. TUNEL method was used to determine its apoptotic effect. LC3 and Beclin-1 expression levels were determined by immunofluorescence staining method and its autophagic effect was evaluated. Our findings demonstrate that T. vulgaris greately lowers proliferation, both in terms of concentration and duration. Consistent with decreased proliferation, an increase in apoptotic and autophagic cell death were also observed. The migration capacity of MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells was greatly suppressed by T. vulgaris, while significantly reducing colony formation. This study is the first to look into how T. vulgaris methanol extract affects breast cancer cells. All of these findings demonstrate that T. vulgaris prevents breast cancer cells from developing a malignant phenotype. It is possible to say that the methanol extract of T. vulgaris is suitable for the treatment of breast cancer, including aggressive types. However, in vivo research should support these results.