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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter April 11, 2022

Synergistic anti-cancer effects of Nigella sativa seed oil and conventional cytotoxic agent against human breast cancer

  • Waheed A. Baig , Kholoud Alwosaibai , Khalid M. Al-Jubran , Tariq M. Chaudhry , Nouf Al-Dowish , Fatimah Alsaffar and Md Anzar Alam ORCID logo EMAIL logo



Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed invasive non-skin malignancy in women worldwide, and it is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in them. Nigella sativa Linn. seed oil has been found to be effective in cancer treatment as well as having anti-cancer properties in some other types of cancers. The study looked into the synergistic cytotoxic effects of N. sativa Linn. seed oil and doxorubicin in the treatment of human breast cancer cells (MCF-7).


Nigella sativa Linn. seed oil was used to evaluate its effect on human breast cancer cells, either alone or in conjunction with doxorubicin. 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) tests were used to examine cell proliferation and cell viability, while phase-contrast inverted microscopy was used to examine cellular morphology. Furthermore, the role of N. sativa seed oil in decreasing cell tumorigenicity features was highlighted by testing the cancer cell migration using the wound healing assay.


Results showed that higher concentrations (50 μg/mL) of N. sativa Linn. seed oil changed the breast cancer cell morphology and decreased the cell proliferation and viability. Breast cancer cells treated with black seed oil decreased cell movement after 24 hours compared to the untreated cell in the wound healing assay. Whereas, only the higher concentration of doxorubicin (0.5–2.5 μg/mL) reduced cell proliferation and cell viability. Moreover, the combination treatment of 50 μg/mL of black seed oil with different concentrations of doxorubicin caused a significant cell proliferation reduction and decreased cell viability. The activity was seen optimum at lower concentration (0.1 µg/mL) of doxorubicin.


There was decreased cell proliferation and cell viability when N. sativa seed oil was used alone or in conjunction with doxorubicin in Breast cancer cells (MCF-7) revealing potential opportunities in the field of cancer treatment.

Corresponding author: Md Anzar Alam, MD, PhD, Department of Ilmul Atfal, SUMER, Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi-110062 Phone: +91-9902146030, E-mail:

Funding source: Vice Deanship of Postgraduate Studies and Research at the Prince Sultan Military College of Health Sciences, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

Award Identifier / Grant number: IBR-2017-CLS-001


The Research Grant Award (Ref: IBR-2017-CLS-001) for this project was funded by Vice Deanship of Postgraduate Studies and Research at the Prince Sultan Military College of Health Sciences, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Technical support was provided by the Science and Technology Unit, King Fahd Specialist Hospital, Dammam, Saudi Arabia. Nigella sativa seeds were donated by the General Manager, Qarshi Foundation (Ref: QF/Gen/F-02), Pakistan.

  1. Research funding: The research project was funded by Vice Deanship of Postgraduate Studies and Research at the Prince Sultan Military College of Health Sciences, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

  2. Author contributions: All authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this manuscript and approved its submission.

  3. Competing interests: Authors state no conflict of interest.

  4. Informed consent: Not applicable.

  5. Ethical approval: The local Institutional Review Board deemed the study.


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Received: 2021-12-13
Accepted: 2022-01-17
Published Online: 2022-04-11

© 2022 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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