Inhibitory effects of Cinnamomum burmannii Blume stem bark extract and trans-cinnamaldehyde on nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells; synergism with cisplatin

Maelinda Daker, Voon Yee Lin, Gabriel Akyirem Akowuah, Mun Fei Yam, Mariam Ahmad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a malignancy that occurs in the epithelium of the nasopharynx. The standard treatment of NPC patients with locoregionally advanced stages is problematic and is often associated with toxicities. Therefore, it is essential to screen for naturally occurring compounds with strong apoptosis-inducing activity and minimal toxicity. This study investigated the effects of the standardized methanol extract of Cinnamomum burmannii Blume stem bark and its main constituent, trans-cinnamaldehyde (TCA), on human NPC cell lines. The content of TCA in C. burmannii methanol extract was standardized to be 13.61% w/w by means of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). NPC cell proliferation was clearly inhibited within 24 h of treatment, with TCA exhibiting greater activity than the methanol extract. TCA was more active against NPC cells compared with cisplatin. There was a pronounced downregulation of the proliferation markers, Ki67 and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) in the TCA-treated cells; while morphological observation indicated the induction of apoptosis. Caspase activation and prominent DNA damage, which are markers of apoptosis induction were detected. TCA demonstrated the ability to scavenge nitric oxide. The simultaneous combination of TCA and cisplatin produced synergistic anti-proliferative effects. Collectively, these data indicate the potential use of TCA for the treatment of NPC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1701-1709
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental and Therapeutic Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell proliferation
  • Cinnamomum burmannii
  • Cisplatin
  • Nasopharyngeal carcinoma
  • Synergism
  • Trans-cinnamaldehyde

Cite this