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Int J Cancer. 2007 Aug 15;121(4):884-94.

Inhibition of breast tumor growth and angiogenesis by a medicinal herb: Ocimum gratissimum.

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Tumor Progression and Metastasis, Karmanos Cancer Institute, Wayne State University, School of Medicine, Detroit, MI 48201, USA.


Ocimum sp. is a traditionally used medicinal herb, which shows anti-oxidant, anti-carcinogenic, radio-protective and free radical scavenging properties. So far no detailed studies have been reported on its effects on human cancers. Thus, we analyzed its effects on human breast cancer utilizing in vitro and in vivo methodologies. Aqueous extracts were prepared from the mature leaves of Ocimum gratissimum (OG) cultivated devoid of pesticides. Tumor progression and angiogenesis related processes like chemotaxis, proliferation, apoptosis, 3D growth and morphogenesis, angiogenesis and tumor growth were studied in the presence or absence of the extract, and in some experiments a comparison was made with purified commercially available eugenol, apigenin and ursolic acid. Aqueous OG leaf extract inhibits proliferation, migration, anchorage independent growth, 3D growth and morphogenesis and induction of COX-2 protein in breast cancer cells. A comparative analysis with eugenol, apigenin and ursolic acid showed that the inhibitory effects on chemotaxis and 3D morphogenesis of breast cancer cells were specific to OG extract. In addition, OG extracts reduced tumor size and neoangiogenesis in a MCF10 xenograft model of human DCIS. This is the first detailed report showing that OG leaf extract may be of value as a breast cancer preventive and therapeutic agent and might be considered as additional additive in the arsenal of components aimed at combating breast cancer progression and metastasis.

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