Thymoquinone, as an anticancer molecule: from basic research to clinical investigation

Md. Asaduzzaman Khan, Mousumi Tania, Shangyi Fu and Junjiang Fu _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:51907-51919. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.17206

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Md. Asaduzzaman Khan1,2, Mousumi Tania3, Shangyi Fu4 and Junjiang Fu1

1Key Laboratory of Epigenetics and Oncology, The Research Center for Preclinical Medicine, Southwest Medical University, Luzhou, Sichuan, China

2Faculty of Applied Sciences, Ton Duc Thang University, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

3Division of Computer Aided Drug Design, The Red-Green Computing Centre, Dhaka, Bangladesh

4The Honors College, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, United States

Correspondence to:

Junjiang Fu, email: [email protected], [email protected]

Md. Asaduzzaman Khan, email: [email protected], [email protected]

Keywords: Nigella sativa, thymoquinone, anticancer, mouse model, clinical studies

Received: March 13, 2017     Accepted: April 05, 2017     Published: April 18, 2017


Thymoquinone is an anticancer phytochemical commonly found in black cumin. In this review, we discuss the potential of thymoquinone as anticancer molecule, its mechanism of action and future usage in clinical applications. Thymoquinone exhibits anticancer activity via numerous mechanisms of action, specifically by showing selective antioxidant and oxidant activity, interfering with DNA structure, affecting carcinogenic signaling molecules/pathways and immunomodulation. In vitro activity of thymoquinone has been further implicated in animal models of cancer; however, no clinical application has been proven yet. This is the optimum time to focus on clinical trials for developing thymoquinone as a future drug in cancer therapeutics.

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