Skin cancer is a preeminent global public health problem. Over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung, and colon. Skin cancer is generally classified into two discrete categories such as malignant melanoma and non-melanocytic cutaneous carcinoma (NMSC). NMSC is much more frequent than melanoma, in that basal cell carcinoma (BCC) accounts the majority of cases for about 80%–85% and has a low rate of metastasis, whereas squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) has a higher tendency to metastasize and mortality than BCC. In contrast, melanoma represents less than one percent of skin cancer but accounts for 80% of all cutaneous carcinomas related deaths. An estimated five-year survival rate of melanoma patients was detected about 98%, but it falls to 62% when the disease reaches the lymph nodes, and 18 percent when the disease metastasizes to distant organs.
DNA is the molecular target for many of the drugs that are used in cancer therapeutics, and these are proven as potent inducers of cell death. They act via a different mechanism based on the chemistry of the lesions in the cell they initiate apoptosis. During the last ten years, specific DNA lesions that trigger apoptosis have been identified. These include O6-methylguanine, base N-alkylations, bulky DNA adducts, DNA cross-links and DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). Potentially lethal events in the cell are DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) that prevent the replication and transcription, cause cell-cycle arrest activate pro-apoptotic genes such as BAX (BCL2-associated X protein), PUMA (p53 upregulated modulator of apoptosis) and FAS receptor finally apoptosis. Anticancer agents that target DNA are some of the most effective agents in clinical use and have produced significant increases in the survival of cancer patients, but unfortunately, they are extremely toxic.
Development of effective and side effects lacking therapy in health care is the new direction to combat cancer treatment. Bioactive ingredients of plant secondary metabolites are proven as a potential in this regard as they pretend differentially on cancer cells only, without altering normal cells. Phytochemicals exhibit a wide range of effects, which works in multiple targets like as antioxidant, anti inflammatory, anti angiogenic to prevent, impede, delay, or cure cancer. Essential oils, the concentrated hydrophobic liquids, have long been used in traditional medicine for their specific aromas and also as flavoring agents in food. The lipophilic nature of these Essential oils enables them to easily cross the membranes of the cells and reach inside the cell. The majority of essential oils components are terpenoids in chemical nature, most commonly monoterpenes. Alpha pinene (AP) is an organic compound of the monoterpene class, one of two isomers of pinene. It is found in the oils of many species of many coniferous trees, notably the pine and also found in the essential oil of rosemary. AP isolated from pine trees exhibited strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In this study, we investigated the anticancer effect of AP and its mechanism of action in human skin epidermoid carcinoma (A431) and melanoma cells (A375).