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Phytother Res. 2012 Jul;26(7):995-1002. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3677. Epub 2011 Dec 6.

Effects of maple (Acer) plant part extracts on proliferation, apoptosis and cell cycle arrest of human tumorigenic and non-tumorigenic colon cells.

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Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881, USA.


Phenolic-enriched extracts of maple sap and syrup, obtained from the sugar and red maple species (Acer saccharum Marsh, A. rubrum L., respectively), are reported to show anticancer effects. Despite traditional medicinal uses of various other parts of these plants by Native Americans, they have not been investigated for anticancer activity. Here leaves, stems/twigs, barks and sapwoods of both maple species were evaluated for antiproliferative effects against human colon tumorigenic (HCT-116, HT-29, Caco-2) and non-tumorigenic (CCD-18Co) cells. Extracts were standardized to total phenolic and ginnalin-A (isolated in our laboratory) levels. Overall, the extracts inhibited the growth of the colon cancer more than normal cells (over two-fold), their activities increased with their ginnalin-A levels, with red > sugar maple extracts. The red maple leaf extract, which contained the highest ginnalin-A content, was the most active extract (IC₅₀  = 35 and 16 µg/mL for extract and ginnalin-A, respectively). The extracts were not cytotoxic nor did they induce apoptosis of the colon cancer cells. However, cell cycle analyses revealed that the antiproliferative effects of the extracts were mediated through cell cycle arrest in the S-phase. The results from the current study suggest that these maple plant part extracts may have potential anticolon cancer effects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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