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Chem Biodivers. 2018 Nov;15(11):e1800282. doi: 10.1002/cbdv.201800282. Epub 2018 Oct 26.

In Vitro Toxicity of Asparagus Saponins in Distinct Multidrug-Resistant Colon Cancer Cells.

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Phytochemicals and Food Quality Group, Instituto de la Grasa (CSIC), 41013, Seville, Spain.
Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Nutrition, Instituto de la Grasa (CSIC), 41013, Seville, Spain.
Department of Cell Biology, University of Seville (US), 41012, Seville, Spain.


Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the world. Many efforts have focused on finding natural molecules with potential chemo-preventive activity due to their low toxicity compared to synthetic drugs. However, comprehensive information on the bioactive fractions and components is still missing. In this study, we developed a method for the quantitative separation and isolation of saponins from asparagus genotypes consisting of an adsorption chromatography and subsequent liquid chromatographic separation on a reversed-phase column. The saponins isolated were tested for their cytotoxic activity against human colon cancer cell lines, which could develop cross-resistance to a wide variety of chemotherapeutic drugs. Our results showed that Huétor-Tájar asparagus saponins (HTSAP), mainly protodioscin and HTSAP-10 have higher cytotoxic activity than HTSAP-1, HTSAP-6, and HTSAP-8. This study links the potential anticancer effect of asparagus to specific saponins and unveils the triguero Huétor-Tájar asparagus as a nutraceutical particularly in colon cancer therapies.


asparagus; biological activity; colon cancer cells; cytotoxicity; saponins

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