Galium verum aqueous extract strongly inhibits the motility of head and neck cancer cell lines and protects mucosal keratinocytes against toxic DNA damage
- Marianne Schmidt
- Christine Polednik
- Jeanette Roller
- Rudolf Hagen
Published online on: July 9, 2014
Galium verum, also known as Lady's Bedstraw, is an herbaceous plant native to Europe and Asia, and has been used in traditional medicine as an anticancer medicine applied in most cases as a decoction. The influence of a Galium verum decoction on the head and neck cancer cell lines HLaC78 and FADU was analyzed and proved to be toxic in high doses on both cell lines. Cytotoxicity appeared to be influenced by expression of p-glycoprotein (MDR-1) in the carcinoma cell lines. Mucosal keratinocytes, although void of MDR-1 expression, showed only low sensitivity against high Galium concentrations. Sublethal doses of Galium extract acted as strong inhibitors of motility, as shown by a spheroid-based invasion analysis on Matrigel-coated surfaces. Inhibition of invasion was significantly more pronounced in the invasive HLaC78 cell line. mRNA expression analysis of matrix metalloproteinases MMP-2 and MMP-9 and their inhibitors TIMP-1/-2 revealed significant TIMP-1 upregulation after an 8-h Galium exposition in FADU cells. Gelatinolytic activity, however, was not influenced by Galium extract in HLaC78, in the FADU cells MMP-2/-9 activity was slightly increased after incubation with Galium extract. In primary mucosal keratinocytes, Galium decoction protected DNA against benz[a]pyrene, one of the most DNA toxic agents in cigarette smoke. In conclusion Galium extract may be useful as a preventive and/or a concomitant therapeutic approach in head and neck cancer.