Roles of Plant Extracts and Constituents in Cervical Cancer Therapy

  • Kma, Lakhan (Cancer and Radiation Countermeasures Unit, Department of Biochemistry North-Eastern Hill University)
  • Published : 2013.06.30


Cervical cancer is a major health problem worldwide and is the most frequent cause of cancer in women in India. Early detection and affordable drugs with clinical efficacy have to go hand-in-hand in order to comprehensibly address this serious health challenge. Plant-based drugs with potent anticancer effects should add to the efforts to find a cheap drug with limited clinical side effects. Keeping this very purpose in mind, an attempt has been made in this review to explore the potential of plant extracts or constituents known to exhibit antitumorigenic activity or exert cytotoxic effect in human cervical carcinoma cells. Alkaloids such as those isolated from C. vincetoxicum and T. Tanakae, naucleaorals A and B, isolated from the roots of N. orientalis, (6aR)-normecambroline, isolated from the bark of N. dealbata appear promising in different human cervical carcinoma cells with the $IC_{50}$ of 4.0-8 ${\mu}g/mL$. However, other compounds such as rhinacanthone and neolignans isolated from different plants are not far behind and kill cervical cancer cells at a very low concentrations. Among plant extracts or its constituents that enhance the effect of known anticancer drugs, noni, derived from the plant M. citrifolia perhaps is the best candidate. The cytotoxic potency and apoptotic index of cisplatin was found to significantly enhanced in combination with noni in different human cervical carcinoma cells and it therefore holds significance as promising herbal-based anticancer agent. However, efficacy needs to be further investigated in various cervical cell lines and more importantly, in in vivo cervical cancer models for possible use as an alternative and safe anticancer drug.


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