Protective effect of saffron (Crocus sativus L.) aqueous extract against genetic damage induced by anti-tumor agents in mice.
Hum Exp Toxicol. 2006 Feb;25(2):79-84. PMID: 16539212
The genotoxic potential of anti-tumor drugs limits their efficacy in the treatment of cancers. Since ancient times, saffron (dried stigmas of Crocus sativus L.) has been used as a spice and medicinal herb. Saffron is a rich source of carotenoids and is known for its anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties. The present study was designed to ascertain the chemoprotective potential of saffron against the genotoxicity of three well-known anti-tumor drugs-cisplatin (CIS), cyclophosphamide (CPH) and mitomycin-C (MMC)--using comet assay. Three doses of saffron (20, 40 and 80 mg/kg b.w.) were orally administered to mice for five consecutive days prior to the administration of anti-tumor drugs under investigation. Pre-treatment with saffron significantly inhibited anti-tumor drugs induced cellular DNA damage (strand breaks) as revealed by decreased comet tail length, tail moment and percent DNA in the tail. These findings, together with our previous results, suggest a potential role for saffron as an anti-genotoxic, anti-oxidant and chemopreventive agent and could be used as an adjuvant in chemotherapeutic applications.