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J Med Food. 2015 Mar;18(3):299-305. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2013.0055. Epub 2014 Oct 9.

Cytotoxic activity of the methanolic extract of Turnera diffusa Willd on breast cancer cells.

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1 Centro de Investigación en Biotecnología Aplicada, Instituto Politécnico Nacional , Tepetitla, Tlaxcala, México .


Turnera diffusa Willd, commonly known as Damiana, is employed in traditional medicine as a stimulant, aphrodisiac, and diuretic. Its leaves and stems are used for flavoring and infusion. Damiana is considered to be safe for medicinal use by the FDA. Pharmacological studies have established the hypoglycemic, antiaromatase, prosexual, estrogenic, antibacterial, and antioxidant activity of T. diffusa. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the possible cytotoxic effect of extracts and organic fractions of this plant on five tumor cell lines (SiHa, C-33, Hep G2, MDA-MB-231, and T-47D) and normal human fibroblasts. The results show that the methanolic extract (TdM) displayed greater activity on MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells (with an IC50 of 30.67 μg/mL) than on the other cancer cell lines. Four organic fractions of this extract exhibited activity on this cancer cell line. In the most active fraction (F4), two active compounds were isolated, arbutin (1) and apigenin (2). This is the first report of a cytotoxic effect by T. diffusa on cancer cells. The IC50 values suggest that the methanolic extract of T. diffusa has potential as an anticancer therapy.


Damiana; MDA-MB-231 cells; T-47D cells; apigenin; breast cancer; cytotoxic activity; fibroblast

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