Antiproliferative activity and induction of apoptosis in human colon cancer cells treated in vitro with constituents of a product derived from Pistacia lentiscus L. var. chia

K. V. Balan, J. Prince, Z. Han, K. Dimas, M. Cladaras, J. H. Wyche, N. M. Sitaras, P. Pantazis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

90 Scopus citations


In this report, we demonstrate that a 50% ethanol extract of the plant-derived product, Chios mastic gum (CMG), contains compounds which inhibit proliferation and induce death of HCT116 human colon cancer cells in vitro. CMG-treatment induces cell arrest at G1, detachment of the cells from the substrate, activation of pro-caspases-8, -9 and -3, and causes several morphological changes typical of apoptosis in cell organelles. These events, furthermore, are time- and dose-dependent, but p53- and p21-independent. Apoptosis induction by CMG is not inhibited in HCT116 cell clones expressing high levels of the anti-apoptotic protein, Bcl-2, or dominant-negative FADD, thereby indicating that CMG induces cell death via a yet-to-be identified pathway, unrelated to the death receptor- and mitochondrion-dependent pathways. The findings presented here suggest that CMG (a) induces an anoikis form of cell death in HCT116 colon cancer cells that includes events associated with caspase-dependent pathways; and (b) might be developed into a chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of human colon and other cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-272
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 10 2007



  • Apoptosis
  • Chios mastic gum
  • Colon cancer cells
  • Pistacia lentiscus L. var. chia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Pharmacology

Cite this