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BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014 Mar 29;14:114. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-14-114.

The selective cytotoxic anti-cancer properties and proteomic analysis of Trigonella Foenum-Graecum.

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  • 1Department of Neurosciences, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, PO box 3354, Riyadh 11211, Saudi Arabia.



There are a number of dietary components that may prove useful in the prevention and treatment of cancer. In some cultures, fenugreek seeds are used to treat cancer. The current study focuses on the anticancer properties and proteomic profiles of fenugreek seeds, and is prompted by the clinical profile of a case of primary CNS T cell lymphoma that responded to fenugreek treatment and resulted in tumor regression.


Various normal and cancer cell lines were exposed to fenugreek extract at differing concentrations (100 μg/ml, 200 μg/ml and 300 μg/ml) and at different time points (0, 24, 48, 72 and 96 hrs). Protein fingerprints of fenugreek grain/seed types, obtained from four different geographical regions, were analyzed by proteomic expression profiles.


We observed selective cytotoxic effects of fenugreek extract in vitro to a panel of cancer cell lines, including T-cell lymphoma. Additionally, the cluster analysis of proteomics data showed that the protein profile of the particular fenugreek used by the patient is significantly different from three other regional subtypes of fenugreek extract.


The in vitro effect of fenugreek as a substance with significant cytotoxicity to cancer cells points to the potential usefulness of fenugreek in the prevention and treatment of cancer.

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