Cytotoxic Effects of Different Aromatic Plants Essential Oils on Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma- an in vitro Study

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Background/Aim: Current approaches in therapy of head and neck cancers are surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. However, recurrence, development of multidrug resistance, side effects, and high costs of therapy are significant problems which point to the need for more efficient and less toxic drugs and interventions.

Material and Methods: Eight essential oils obtained from Thymus serpyllum, Mentha piperita, Juniperus communis, Rosmarinus officinalis, Melissa officinalis, Achillea millefolium, Zingiber officinale, and Helichrysum arenarium were tested for their anti-proliferative on oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) culture and SCC-25 cell line. Cytotoxicity assays (MTT and Neutral red) were used to detect the effect of the mentioned essential oils.

Results: T. serpyllum, M. piperita, J. communis, and R. officinalis essential oils exhibited the best anti-proliferative effect, on both types of cells. M. piperita had the greatest effect on SCC-25 cell line (4,5% of viable cells) and OSCC cells (7,2% of viable cells). Overall, cytotoxicity was higher in OSCC than in SCC-25 cell line.

Conclusions: This study showed a clear anti-proliferative effect of four essential oils, in vitro making them novel potential antineoplastic agents.

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