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Review Article

Targeting Inflammatory Mediators: An Anticancer Mechanism of Thymoquinone Action

[ Vol. 28 , Issue. 1 ]


Zakia Akter, Faiza Rafa Ahmed, Mousumi Tania and Md. Asaduzzaman Khan*   Pages 80 - 92 ( 13 )


Background: Thymoquinone is a promising anticancer molecule, the chemopreventive role of which is well-known at least in vitro and in the animal model. In this review article, we focused on the anti-inflammatory activities of thymoquinone in cancer cells.

Method: Research data on inflammation, cancer and thymoquinone were acquired from PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science and Google Scholar. We reviewed papers published since the mid of the last century, and the most cited papers of the last ten years.

Results: Studies indicate that thymoquinone possesses immunomodulatory activities, in addition to its chemopreventive role, as thymoquinone can target and modulate inflammatory molecules, like nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κβ), interleukins, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and certain growth factors. As chronic inflammation plays an important role in cancer development, controlling inflammatory pathways is an important mechanism of an anticancer molecule, and modulation of inflammatory pathways might be one of the key mechanisms of thymoquinone’s anticancer activities.

Conclusion: This article reviewed the role of inflammation on cancer development, and the action of thymoquinone on inflammatory molecules, which have been proved in vitro and in vivo. Much attention is required for studying the role of thymoquinone in immunotherapeutics and developing this molecule as a future anticancer drug.


Cancer, Thymoquinone, Immunotherapeutics, Inflammatory modulators, NF-κβ, uncontrolled proliferation.


Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Gono Bishwabidyalay, Dhaka, Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, North South University, Dhaka, Division of Molecular Cancer, Red Green Research Center, Dhaka, The Research Center for Preclinical Medicine, Southwest Medical University, Luzhou

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