Phytolacca americana, native to North and South America and East Asia, has been used by Native Americans as a laxative, and to treat inflammation, rashes and breast problems. Recent investigations include determining anti-viral and anti-cancer properties of purified pokeweed antiviral protein conjugated to monoclonal antibodies. However, there is limited information on the activities of P. americana extracts directly against cancer cells. This study was carried out to evaluate the antiproliferative activities of crude ethanol, methanol and water extracts from P. americana against MCF-7 human breast and HCT-116 colon cancer cells using the 3-(4, 5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl-)-2, 5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. The ethanol extract of P. americana (PRE) had significantly higher antiproliferative activity against HCT-116 cells than the methanol extract (PRM) and the water extract (PRW). None of the extracts showed a significant antiproliferative activity against MCF-7 cells. The ethanol extract was further fractionated and the water fraction showed the greatest antiproliferative activity against HCT-11 Cells compared to the ethyl acetate and butanol fractions. Changes in caspase 2, 3, 6, 8 and 9 activities in HCT-116 cells after exposure to the ethanol extract and its most active fraction were also examined. Caspases 6 and 9 showed increased activities in HCT-116 cells exposed to the ethanol extract. Caspases 3, 8 and 9 were activated in HCT-116 cells exposed to the water fraction. Relatively strong antiproliferative and apoptotic activities were exhibited against HCT-116 cells by the ethanol extract and its water fraction. These findings suggest that further investigation into their potential use in pharmaceutical applications as chemopreventive supplements or in complementary treatment of colon cancer is warranted. PDFFulltextXMLReferencesCitation
How to cite this article
L. Maness, I. Goktepe, B. Hardy, J. Yu and M. Ahmedna, 2012. Antiproliferative and Apoptotic Effects of Phytolacca americana Extracts and their Fractions on Breast and Colon Cancer Cells. Research Journal of Medicinal Plants, 6: 17-26.