The effects of caffeic, coumaric and ferulic acids on proliferation, superoxide production, adhesion and migration of human tumor cells in vitro


  • Nasr Bouzaiene Nouha
  • Kilani-Jaziri Soumaya
  • Kovacic Hervé
  • Chekir-Ghedira Leila
  • Ghedira Kamel
  • Luis José


  • Migration
  • Adhesion
  • Phenolic acids
  • Reactive oxygen species


Reactive oxygen species are well-known mediators of various biological responses. In this study, we examined the effect of three phenolic acids, caffeic, coumaric and ferulic acids, on superoxide anion production, adhesion and migration of human lung (A549) and colon adenocarcinoma (HT29-D4) cancer cell lines. Proliferation of both tumor cells was inhibited by phenolic acids. Caffeic, coumaric and ferulic acids also significantly inhibited superoxide production in A549 and HT29-D4 cells. Superoxide anion production decreased by 92% and 77% at the highest tested concentration (200 mM) of caffeic acid in A549 and HT29-D4 cell lines respectively. Furthermore, A549 and HT29-D4 cell adhesion was reduced by 77.9% and 79.8% respectively at the higher tested concentration of ferulic acid (200 mM). Migration assay performed towards A549 cell line, revealed that tested compounds reduced significantly cell migration. At the highest concentration tested (200 mM), the covered surface was 7.7%, 9.5% and 35% for caffeic, coumaric or ferulic acids, respectively. These results demonstrate that caffeic, coumaric and ferulic acids may participate as active ingredients in anticancer agents against lung and colon cancer development, at adhesion and migration steps of tumor progression.

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