Anticancer effect of Illicium verum (star anise fruit) against human breast cancer MCF-7 cell line

Asra Khan Pahore, Shagufta Khan, Nasim Karim

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To investigate the anticancer effect of Illicium verum against human breast cancer MCF-7 cell line. Methods: An experimental study was conducted in Multidisciplinary and Tissue Culture Laboratory, Aga Khan University in collaboration with Pharmacology Department of Bahria University Medical and Dental College, Karachi, Pakistan from January 2021 to June 2021. MCF-7 cells of Luminal-A breast cancer were seeded in 96-well plate and treated with I.verum methanol extract. After incubation, MTT (3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide) dye was used for cell viability and cell proliferation assays to determine the number of dead and viable cells, and the absorbance was measured using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) plate reader. In cell viability assay, different doses of I. verum methanol extract were used to treat the MCF-7 (0.25, 0.5, 1, 3, 6, 12, 25, and 50µg/ml) cells. For apoptosis analysis, the cells were processed with 4´, 6-diamidino-2-phenylindole fluorescent nuclear dye (DAPI) and were examined for fluorescence intensity and apoptotic cells. For cell proliferation assay and apoptosis the IC50 dose of 5.5µg/ml I. verum methanol extract was used. Results: The MCF-7 cells showed a significant reduction (p-value <0.01) in cell viability in the presence of all tested doses of I. verum methanol extract, except for the dose of 0.25µg/ml. The IC50 dose 5.5µg/ml of same extract also showed a significant reduction (p-value <0.01) in cell proliferation and apoptosis induction in MCF-7 cells. Conclusions: Illicium verum methanol extract possesses very potent anticancer action against MCF-7 cells through cytotoxicity, reduction, and inhibition of cancer cells and by inducing apoptosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-74
Number of pages5
JournalPakistan Journal of Medical Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023


  • Apoptosis
  • Breast neoplasms
  • Cell line
  • Cell proliferation
  • Illicium
  • MCF-7 cells


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