ONCOLOGY LETTERS, vol.12, no.2, pp.1429-1437, 2016 (SCI-Expanded)
Pelargonium species have various uses in folk medicine as traditional remedies, and several of them have been screened for their biological activity, including anticancer. Pelargonium quercetorum Agnew (P. quercetorum) is traditionally used for its anthelminthic activity. However, little is known about its biological activity or its effect on cancer cells. The aim of the present study was to determine the cytotoxic activity of P. quercetorum extract on lung cancer cell lines with varying properties. Following the analyses of its chemical composition, the cytotoxic activity was screened by the adenosine triphosphate viability test. M30-Apoptosense (R) and M65 EpiDeath (R) enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays were used to determine the cell death mode (apoptosis vs. necrosis). For apoptosis, additional methods, including Annexin-V-fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) and Hoechst 33342 staining, were employed. The cleavage of poly (adenosine diphosphate-ribose) polymerase (PARP) was assayed by western blotting to further dissect the apoptosis mechanism. The methanol extract of P. quercetorum caused cytotoxic activity in a dose-dependent manner. The mode of cell death was apoptosis, as evidenced by the positive staining of the cells for Annexin-V-FITC and the presence of pyknotic nuclei. Notably, neither PARP cleavage nor cytokeratin 18 fragmentation were observed. P. quercetorum caused cell death by an apoptosis mechanism that is slightly different from classical apoptosis. Therefore, future in vivo experiments are required for further understanding of the effect of this plant on cancer cells.