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PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e44658. Epub 2012 Sep 14.

Dietary administration of scallion extract effectively inhibits colorectal tumor growth: cellular and molecular mechanisms in mice.

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Agricultural Biotechnology Research Center, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China.


Colorectal cancer is a common malignancy and a leading cause of cancer death worldwide. Diet is known to play an important role in the etiology of colon cancer and dietary chemoprevention is receiving increasing attention for prevention and/or alternative treatment of colon cancers. Allium fistulosum L., commonly known as scallion, is popularly used as a spice or vegetable worldwide, and as a traditional medicine in Asian cultures for treating a variety of diseases. In this study we evaluated the possible beneficial effects of dietary scallion on chemoprevention of colon cancer using a mouse model of colon carcinoma (CT-26 cells subcutaneously inoculated into BALB/c mice). Tumor lysates were subjected to western blotting for analysis of key inflammatory markers, ELISA for analysis of cytokines, and immunohistochemistry for analysis of inflammatory markers. Metabolite profiles of scallion extracts were analyzed by LC-MS/MS. Scallion extracts, particularly hot-water extract, orally fed to mice at 50 mg (dry weight)/kg body weight resulted in significant suppression of tumor growth and enhanced the survival rate of test mice. At the molecular level, scallion extracts inhibited the key inflammatory markers COX-2 and iNOS, and suppressed the expression of various cellular markers known to be involved in tumor apoptosis (apoptosis index), proliferation (cyclin D1 and c-Myc), angiogenesis (VEGF and HIF-1α), and tumor invasion (MMP-9 and ICAM-1) when compared with vehicle control-treated mice. Our findings may warrant further investigation of the use of common scallion as a chemopreventive dietary agent to lower the risk of colon cancer.

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