In Vitro Assessment of Homeopathic Potencies of Hydrastis canadensis on Hormone-Dependent and Independent Breast Cancer

Background – Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women. Conventional treatment such as chemotherapy, hormonal therapy and radiotherapy has decreased the mortality rate among cancer patients but has also revealed long-term side effects. Drug resistance and toxicity to normal cells compound the problems associated with the use of modern medicines. Hence, complementary or alternative treatment options are being explored. The current study, using different homeopathic potencies of Hydrastis canadensis, was conducted to distinguish between any effects they might have on hormone-dependent and independent breast cancer. Materials and Methods – The cytotoxic effect of homeopathic medicine Hydrastis on hormone-dependent (MCF 7) and hormone-independent (MDA-MB-468) breast cancer cells was assessed using viability and colony-forming assays after 48 or 72 hours of treatment. Flow cytometry-based Annexin V-PI (propidium iodide), caspase 3 and cell cycle analysis was performed following treatment of cells with mother tincture or various potencies of Hydrastis (1C, 2C, 30C, 200C). Results – Different potencies of Hydrastis displayed selective cytotoxic effects against MCF 7 cells, but only marginal effects against MDA-MB-468. The maximum cytotoxicity was established in the case of 1C following 72 hours of treatment. Treatment of breast cancer cells revealed an increase in the G0/G1 cell population, along with an increase in the caspase 3 levels and induction of apoptosis. Conclusion – Hydrastis may have a selective cytotoxic effect against hormone-dependent breast cancer MCF 7 cells, leading to cell cycle arrest in the G0/G1 phase, which could be the plausible reason for the induction of apoptosis. The results need to be validated in vivo.

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