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Fitoterapia. 2010 Dec;81(8):1013-9. doi: 10.1016/j.fitote.2010.06.021. Epub 2010 Jul 1.

Knipholone anthrone from Kniphofia foliosa induces a rapid onset of necrotic cell death in cancer cells.

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Pharmacognosy Research Laboratories, Medway School of Science, University of Greenwich, Chatham-Maritime, Kent ME4 4TB, UK.


The present study examines the comparative cytotoxicity of knipholone (KP) and knipholone anthrone (KA) in leukaemic and melonocyte cancer cell lines. It was found that KA induces a rapid onset of cytotoxicity with IC(50) values ranging from 0.5 to 3.3 μM. In comparison to KA, KP was 70-480-times less toxic to cancer cells. Morphological and biochemical studies revealed that the cytotoxicity of KA was coupled with a quick loss of membrane integrity leading to necrotic cell death. The study identified KA as a new class of natural potential anticancer agent with a wide range of toxicological and pharmacological implications.

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