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Vernonia amygdalina: anticancer activity, authentication, and adulteration detection.

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The Laboratory of Cellular Signaling, Phytoceuticals, and Cancer Prevention and Therapies, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS 39217, USA.


Evidence suggests that most chemotherapeutic agents are less effective as treatment in patients with estrogen receptor-negative (ER-) breast carcinomas compared to those with estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast carcinomas. Moreover, African American Women (AAW) is disproportionately diagnosed with ER- breast cancer compared to their white counterparts. Novel therapies effective against ER- breast carcinomas are urgently needed to ameliorate the health disparity. Previous reports show that low concentrations (microgram/ml) of water-soluble leaf extracts of a Nigerian edible plant, V. amygdalina (VA), potently retards the proliferative activities of ER+ human breast cancerous cells (MCF-7) in vitro in a concentration-dependent fashion. However, the anti-proliferative activities of VA in either ductal or ER- carcinoma cells have not been characterized. The exposure of BT-549 to increasing concentrations of VA (10, 100, and 1000 microg/mL) inhibited cell growth by approximately 14 % (P<0.05), 22 % (p<0.05), and 50 % (p<0.005) respectively. The cell count studies were corroborated by DNA synthesis studies. Treatments of BT-549 with 10, 100, and 1000 microg/mL VA inhibited DNA synthesis in a concentration dependent fashion by 22 %, 76 % (P<0.05), and 86 % (p<0.01) respectively. BT-549 cells were insensitive to 10 and 100 nM paclitaxel (TAX) treatments. Isolation of DNA from dried VA leaves yielded approximately 12.2 and 1 kbp genomic DNA that were Eco RI-insensitive but Hind III and Bam HI-sensitive. These pieces of information may be used to enhance the safety of medicinal botanical VA through authentication, and adulteration detection.

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