Arsenicum album Induces Cell Cycle Arrest and Apoptosis, and Inhibits Epithelial–Mesenchymal Transition in Hormone-Dependent MCF7 Breast Cancer Cells

Background - Arsenic trioxide (As2O3) has been in therapeutic use since the 18th century for various types of cancers including skin and breast; however, it gained popularity following FDA approval for its use against acute promyelocytic leukemia. This present work was designed to evaluate the anti-cancer potential of a homeopathic potency of arsenic trioxide (Arsenicum album 6C) in hormone-dependent breast cancer. Methods - Breast cancer cells (MCF7) were treated with Arsenicum album (Ars 6C) to evaluate its anti-proliferative and apoptotic potential. We examined the effect of Ars 6C on the cell cycle, wound healing, reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, and modulation of expression of key genes which are aberrant in cancer. Results - Treating breast cancer cells with Ars 6C halted the cell cycle at the sub-G0 and G2/M phases, which could be attributed to DNA damage induced by the generation of ROS. Apoptotic induction was associated with upregulation of Bax expression, with concurrent downregulation of the Bcl-2 gene. Ars 6C was also seen to reverse epithelial to mesenchymal transition and reduce the migration of breast cancer cells. Conclusion - The findings suggest that Ars has significant anti-proliferative and apoptotic potential against breast cancer cells. Further studies are required to elucidate the mechanism by which Ars exerts its effect in the in vivo setting.

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