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J Pharm Sci. 1980 Sep;69(9):1050-6.

Antitumor agents XXXVIII: Isolation and structural elucidation of novel germacranolides and triterpenes from Elephantopus mollis.


The ethanolic extract of Elephantopus mollis yielded three novel cytotoxic antitumor germacranolides, molephantin, molephantinin, and phantomolin. The extract also yielded three inactive known triterpenes, beta-amyrin acetate, lupeol acetate, and epifriedelanol, as well as stigmasterol. The structure and stereochemistry of the cytotoxic antitumor agents molephantin, molephantinin, and phantomolin were determined on the basis of chemical transformations and spectral evidence. Preliminary in vivo tumor assays indicated that molephantinin and phantomolin were potent inhibitors of Ehrlich ascites carcinoma and Walker 256 carcinosarcoma. Molephantinin also showed significant antileukemic activity in the P-388 lymphocytic leukemia screen.

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