Apoptosis-inducing effects of Morinda citrifolia L. and doxorubicin on the Ehrlich ascites tumor in Balb-c mice.
Cell Biochem Funct. 2009 Dec;27(8):542-6. PMID: 19908222
Morinda citrifolia L. (Noni) is a herbal remedy with promising anti-cancer properties. However, its effects on various cancers are to be investigated to make a firm conclusion before implementing it into the clinical practice. Therefore, we investigated the cytotoxic potential of noni on Ehrlich ascites tumor grown in female Balb-c mice and also combined it with a potent anti-cancer agent, doxorubicin. One group received noni only (n = 8), another one doxorubicin (n = 8), and the other one noni + doxorubicin (n = 8) for 14 days after the inoculation of cells. The control group (n = 7) received 0.9% NaCl only. We found that short and long diameters of the tumor tissues were about 40-50% smaller, compared to those in control group. This anti-growth effect resulted from the induction of apoptosis, which was confirmed by the positive results from the Terminal Deoxynucleotidyl Transferase dUTP Nick End Labeling (TUNEL) analysis and the active caspase-3 cells in tissues. Apoptosis also confirmed by caspase-cleaved cytokeratin 18 elevation in serum of the treated groups. Further, the proliferation was decreased, which was immunohistochemically shown by the PCNA staining. We conclude that noni may be useful in the treatment of breast cancer either on its own or in combination with doxorubicin. Further studies are warranted to assess the dosage and safety of using noni fruit juice in conjuction with anti-cancer drugs against breast cancer.