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Am J Chin Med. 2009;37(3):609-20.

Selective cytotoxic effects on human cancer cell lines of phenolic-rich ethyl-acetate fraction from Rhus verniciflua Stokes.

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Department of Basic Science of Oriental Medicine, Kyunghee University, Seoul 130-701, Republic of Korea.


Rhus verniciflua Stokes (RVS) is a plant with a long history of medicinal use in Eastern Asia. RVS has been widely used to treat gastritis, stomach cancer and atherosclerosis. The cytotoxic effects of different solvent fractions from an RVS ethanol extract were measured in 11 human cancer cell lines. The study showed that the ethyl-acetate (EtOAC) fraction was the most cytotoxic. This fraction contains a number of phenolic compounds, and this phenolic-rich EtOAC fraction was particularly effective against gastric and breast cancer cells. A purified phenolic-rich EtOAC fraction (PPEF) had a stronger apoptotic effect on these cells. Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) analysis showed that the PPEF contained gallic acid, protocatechuic acid, fisetin, sulfuretin, butein and 8 unknown compounds. There were only small amounts of flavonoids: fisetin, sulfuretin and butein. The results showed that PPEF induces apoptosis only in gastric and breast cancer cell lines, but not in lung, colon or liver cancer cell lines. Therefore, PPEF may have a significant potential as an organ-specific anti-cancer agent.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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