Assessment of Antitumor Activity of Vinca herbacea on Human Ovarian Cancer Cell Line

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Biology, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.

2 Recombinant Vaccine Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

3 Immunotherapy Group, Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

4 Department of Immunology, Pasteur Institute of Iran, Tehran, Iran.


Background: It seems that Vinca. herbacea has an anti-tumor effect. Here, the immunotherapeutic effect of this compound is assessed against human ovarian cancer (SKOV3) cells because of the high incidence of this tumor in women.
Materials and Methods: The cytotoxic activity of V. herbacea extract against human ovarian cancer (SKOV3) cells was determined by MTT assay. The apoptosis-inducing potential of V. herbacea extract was investigated using the FITC-V Annexin kit. The Matrigel invasion assay was used to investigate the ability of V. herbacea extract in reducing ovarian cancer cells invasion. Real-time PCR using specific primers was performed to investigate the expression of angiogenesis (VEGFR1, VEGFR2, and VEGF-A), apoptosis (Bcl-2 and Bax), and metastasis (MMP2 and MMP9) genes.
Results: V. herbacea caused a significant cytotoxic effect against human ovarian cancer cells in a dose-dependent manner. V. herbacea induced apoptosis in SKOV3 cells through caspase-3 activation and an increase in the expression ratio of Bax/Bcl-2. V. herbacea inhibited cancer cells’ angiogenesis, which was evident by the significant reduction in the expression of angiogenesis-related genes, including VEGF, VEGFR-1, and VEGFR-2. Besides, V. herbacea inhibited cancer cell adhesion and invasion.
Conclusion: V. herbacea extract elicits a robust cytostatic effect in SKOV3 cells by modulating the activity and or the expression of proteins regulating the process of cellular apoptosis, adhesion invasion, and angiogenesis.