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Pharmacognosy Res. 2011 Jul;3(3):189-93. doi: 10.4103/0974-8490.85006.

Cucurbitacins-type triterpene with potent activity on mouse embryonic fibroblast from Cucumis prophetarum, cucurbitaceae.

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Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, King Abdulaziz University, P. O. Box 80203, Jeddah 21589, Saud Arabia.



Higher plants are considered as a well-known source of the potent anticancer metabolites with diversity of chemical structures. For instance, taxol is an amazing diterpene alkaloid had been lunched since 1990.


To isolate the major compounds from the fruit extract of Cucumis prophetarum, Cucurbitaceae, which are mainly responsible for the bioactivities as anticancer.


Plant material was shady air dried, extracted with equal volume of chloroform/methanol, and fractionated with different adsorbents. The structures of obtained pure compounds were elucidated with different spectroscopic techniques employing 1D ((1)H and (13)C) and 2D (COSY, HMQC and HMBC) NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometry) and ESI-MS (Eelectrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry) spectroscopy. The pure isolates were tested towards human cancer cell lines, mouse embryonic fibroblast (NIH3T3) and virally transformed form (KA3IT).


Two cucurbitacins derivatives, dihydocucurbitacin B (1) and cucurbitacin B (2), had been obtained. Compounds 1 and 2 showed (showed potent inhibitory activities toward NIH3T3 and KA31T with IC(50) 0.2, 0.15, 2.5 and 2.0 μg/ml, respectively.


The naturally cucurbitacin derivatives (dihydocucurbitacin B and cucurbitacin B) showed potent activities towards NIH3T3 and KA31T, could be considered as a lead of discovering a new anticancer natural drug.


Cucumis prophetarum; cucurbitacin B; dihydrocucurbitacin B; mouse embryonic fibroblast and virally transformed form

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