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Molecules. 2012 Nov 1;17(11):12938-49. doi: 10.3390/molecules171112938.

The effects of Davallic acid from Davallia divaricata Blume on apoptosis induction in A549 lung cancer cells.

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Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan.


Traditional or folk medicinal herbs continue to be prescribed in the treatment of various diseases and conditions in many cultures. Recent scientific efforts have focused on the potential roles of extracts of traditional herbs as alternative and complementary medications for cancer treatment. In Taiwan, Davallia divaricata Blume has been traditionally employed in folk medicine for therapy of lung cancer, davallic acid being the major active compound of D. divaricata Blume. In this study, we investigated the inhibitory activity of davallic acid on the proliferation of A549 lung cancer cells. Davallic acid was extracted from D. divaricata Blume, and its effects on cell viability, cell cycle distribution, ROS level, and apoptotic protein expression in A549 cells were determined. Davallic acid significantly induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation as well as caspase-3, -8, and -9 activation, thereby repressing A549 cell growth and elevating apoptotic activity. Since lung cancer has a high incidence of recurrence, these results indicate that davallic acid may have the potential to be a natural anti-lung cancer compound, and may provide a basis for further study of its use in combating cancer.

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