Therapeutic Effects of Crocin Alone or in Combination with Sorafenib against Hepatocellular Carcinoma: In Vivo & In Vitro Insights

Suzan Abdu, Nouf Juaid, Amr Amin, Mohamed Moulay, Nabil Miled

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated the therapeutic effects of the phytochemical crocin alone or in combination with sorafenib both in rats chemically induced with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and in human liver cancer cell line (HepG2). Male rats were randomly divided into five groups, namely, control group, HCC induced group, and groups treated with sorafenib, crocin or both crocin and sorafenib. HCC was induced in rats with a single intraperitoneal injection of diethylnitrosamine (DEN), then 2-acetylaminofluorene (2-AAF). The HCC-induced rats showed a significant decrease in body weight compared to animals treated with either or both examined drugs. Serum inflammatory markers (C-reactive protein (CRP); interleukin-6 (IL-6); lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), and oxidative stress markers were significantly increased in the HCC group and were restored upon treatment with either or both of therapeutic molecules. Morphologically, the HCC-induced rats manifested most histopathological features of liver cancer. Treatment with either or both of crocin and sorafenib successfully restored normal liver architecture. The expression of key genes involved in carcinogenesis (TNFα, p53, VEGF and NF-κB) was highly augmented upon HCC induction and was attenuated post-treatment with either or both examined drugs. Treatment with both crocin and sorafenib improved the histopathological and inflammation parameters as compared to single treatments. The in vivo anti-cancer effects of crocin and/or sorafenib were supported by their respective cytotoxicity on HepG2 cells. Crocin and sorafenib displayed an anti-tumor synergetic effect on HepG2 cells. The present findings demonstrated that a treatment regimen with crocin and sorafenib reduced liver toxicity, impeded HCC development, and improved the liver functions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1645
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • HCC
  • crocin
  • inflammation
  • sorafenib
  • treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Physiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Therapeutic Effects of Crocin Alone or in Combination with Sorafenib against Hepatocellular Carcinoma: In Vivo & In Vitro Insights'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this