Asafoetida inhibits early events of carcinogenesis: A chemopreventive study

Mohammad Saleem, Aftab Alam, Sarwat Sultana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Ferula (a genus of many species) commonly known as asafoetida is used as a flavoring agent in food and is used as a traditional medicine for many diseases in many parts of world. In the current investigation, we report the antioxidant and anticarcinogenic potential of asafoetida (Ferula narthex) in swiss albino mice. A single dose of TPA (20nmol/0.2 ml acetone / animal), a known tumor promoter decreased the cellular antioxidant level significantly (p<0.01) when applied topically to mice skin. It also induced the ODC activity, rate of DNA synthesis, hydrogen peroxide level, xanthine oxidase activity and protein carbonyl content in mice skin significantly (p<0.01). These events are early biomarkers of carcinogenesis. However, the pretreatment of animals with asafoetida (300, 400 and 500μg/200 μl acetone / animal) caused the reversal of all events significantly (p<0.01). The pretreatment of animals with asafoetida recovered the antioxidant level and reversed the induced ODC activity and DNA synthesis significantly (p<0.01). We conclude that asafoetida is a potent antioxidant and can afford protection against free radical mediated diseases such as carcinogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1913-1921
Number of pages9
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number16
StatePublished - Mar 9 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Antioxidant
  • Carcinogenesis
  • Chemoprevention
  • DNA damage
  • Ferula narthex
  • Ornithine decarboxylase
  • Protein carbonyl
  • [H]thymidine incorporation

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