Inhibition of human breast cancer cells (MCF-7 cell line) growth via cell proliferation, migration, and angiogenesis by auraptene of Ferula szowitsiana root extract

  • Ensiyeh Charmforoshan
  • Ehsan KarimiEmail author
  • Ehsan OskoueianEmail author
  • Ali Es-Haghi
  • Mehrdad Iranshahi
Original Paper


The different species of the Ferula (Apiaceae) genus are endemic in central Asia and are used as a medicinal food in Iran. The Ferula szowitsiana has been reported with anti-inflammatory, anti-hypertensive, anti-helicobacter, antileishmanial and cancer chemopreventive activities. Auraptene is one of the main coumarins from Ferula szowitsiana root. Despite the interesting biological properties of Ferula szowitsiana extract, not much information are available regarding the antioxidant, anti-cancer and anti-angiogenic potentials of isolated auraptene against breast cancer cells. Hence, comprehensive biochemical and molecular analyses were conducted to evaluate the antioxidant, antiproliferative, anti-migratory and angiogenic inhibitory activities of auraptene isolated from Ferula szowitsiana root. The obtained results of this study revealed that auraptene illustrated antioxidant activity through inhibiting DPPH free radicals and ferric reducing ability with respective IC50 values of 557.9 and 476.5 µg ml−1. Besides that, the auraptene exhibited strong cytotoxic properties against MCF-7 cell line (IC50:61.3 µg ml−1). The observed anti-tumor activity in human breast cancer cells (MCF-7 cell line) was through inhibition of cell proliferation, migration, and angiogenesis. These results were further confirmed by up-regulation of caspase-3, caspase-8, and down-regulation of MMP2, MMP9, VEGFR-1, and VEGFR-2 genes. Hence, the auraptene could be a promising anticancer agent in complementary chemotherapy and might be utilized in the food industry for the development of functional or enriched foods.


MCF-7 Auraptene Angiogenesis Apoptogenic effects Gene expression 



The authors are grateful to the Islamic Azad University of Mashhad and Agricultural Biotechnology Research Institute of Iran (ABRII), Mashhad Branch for the laboratory facilities.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All the authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology, Mashhad BranchIslamic Azad UniversityMashhadIran
  2. 2.Mashhad Branch, Agricultural Biotechnology Research Institute of Iran (ABRII)Agricultural Research, Education, and Extension Organization (AREEO)MashhadIran
  3. 3.Biotechnology Research Center and School of PharmacyMashhad University of Medical SciencesMashhadIran

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