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Cancer Lett. 1996 Jun 24;104(1):31-6.

Anti-tumor activity of the crude saponins obtained from asparagus.

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Department of Plant Science, Cook College, Rutgers, State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick 08903, USA.


The crude saponins from the shoots (edible part of asparagus) of asparagus (asparagus crude saponins; ACS) were found to have antitumor activity. The ACS inhibited the growth of human leukemia HL-60 cells in culture and macromolecular synthesis in a dose and time dependent manner. The ACS at 75-100 micrograms/ml range was cytostatic. ACS concentrations greater than 200 micrograms/ml were cytocidal to HL-60 cells. The ACS at 6 and 50 micrograms/ml inhibited the synthesis of DNA, RNA and protein in HL-60 cells by 41, 5, and 4, respectively, or by 84, 68 and 59%, respectively. The inhibitory effect of ACS on DNA synthesis was irreversible.

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