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Anticancer Res. 2006 Sep-Oct;26(5A):3485-92.

Paediatric medulloblastoma cells are susceptible to Viscum album (Mistletoe) preparations.

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  • 1University of Applied Sciences, Waedenswil, Switzerland.



Medulloblastoma constitute more than 20% of all paediatric brain tumours and are the most common malignant brain tumours in children. Adjuvant chemotherapy has seen a strong increase in the use of complementary medicine for cancer treatment. Evidence for cytotoxic and apoptotic effects of Viscum album (Mistletoe) in vitro is available, however, no data concerning paediatric tumours, especially paediatric brain tumours, has been provided so far.


In order to compare the receptiveness of medulloblastoma cells to different Viscum album preparations, in vitro cytotoxic effects of eight Viscum album extracts on four different paediatric medulloblastoma cell lines were analysed by MTT-Tests. Lectin contents of the extracts were determined to correlate them with the mitochondrial activity of mistletoe-treated cells. Flowcytometric analyses with Annexin V-FITC staining were carried out to quantify the amount of apoptotic cells compared to necrotic and viable cells.


Data obtained with the medulloblastoma cell lines, Daoy, D342, D425 and UW-288-2, treated with Viscum album preparations from eight dissimilar host trees (Iscucin Abietis, Pini, Populi, Mali, Salicis, Crataegi, Quercus and Tiliae), indicated a significant growth-inhibition of all cell lines, yet the cell susceptibility was dissimilar against the different extracts. The decrease in mitochondrial activity and increase in apoptosis correlated with the lectin content of the used preparation in a dose-dependent manner.


These in vitro results show that paediatric medulloblastoma cells respond to Viscum album preparations, by undergoing cell death through apoptosis and that this growth-inhibition correlates with the lectin content of the used preparation.

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