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Cancer Lett. 2009 Apr 8;276(1):74-80. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2008.10.036. Epub 2008 Dec 12.

Cytotoxic effects of flavonoids against a human colon cancer derived cell line, COLO 201: a potential natural anti-cancer substance.

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Department of Clinical Molecular Genetics, School of Pharmacy, Tokyo University of Pharmacy & Life Sciences, 1432-1 Horinouchi, Hachioji, Tokyo 192-0392, Japan.


The proliferation of a human colon carcinoma cell line, COLO 201, was effectively suppressed through apoptosis in the presence of flavonoids, an ethanol extract from Vitex agnus-castus fruits. The induction of apoptosis was not inhibited by the presence of an anti-oxidant, N-acetyl-L-cysteine, whereas only HO-1 gene expression levels increased among other typical oxidative stress-associated genes examined after Vitex treatment. These results suggest that Vitex treatment activates a pathway associated with HO-1 gene activation, resulting in the induction of apoptosis in COLO 201. Results also implicate a potential clinical chemotherapeutic application of Vitex for the treatment of colon cancer patients.

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