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Oncol Rep. 2007 Feb;17(2):425-31.

Ethyl acetate extract of Chinese medicinal herb Sarcandra glabra induces growth inhibition on human leukemic HL-60 cells, associated with cell cycle arrest and up-regulation of pro-apoptotic Bax/Bcl-2 ratio.

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Department of Biology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, P.R. China.


Sarcandra glabra (Thunb.) Nakai, colloquially known as Caoshanhu, is a Chinese medicinal herb with reported anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and non-specific immunoenhancing properties. Although the plant has been clinically used for treating a variety of diseases, its bioactive ingredients are largely unknown and its mode of action has never been investigated. In this study, the anti-tumor property of ethyl acetate (EA) extract of S. glabra was investigated by determining its in vitro growth-inhibitory effects on a panel of human cancer cell lines of different histotypes. Growth inhibition of the EA extract on the cancer cells seemed to be selective, and the leukemic HL-60 was found to be the most responsive after 48 h of treatment (IC50=58 microg/ml). Flow cytometric studies further illustrated that the extract might interfere with DNA replication and thus arrested the cell cycle at S phase in the leukemic cells, followed by DNA fragmentation and loss of phospholipid asymmetry in the plasma membrane after 72 h of treatment. Concurrently, the pro-apoptotic Bax/Bcl-2 ratio was also up-regulated by more than 178% of the control level. All these findings suggested that the extract had initiated apoptosis to kill the leukemic cells. Results from this pioneer study help to establish a scientific foundation for future research and development of the bioactive ingredients in EA extract of S. glabra as efficacious anti-cancer agents.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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