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Zanthoxylum usambarense (Engl.) Kokwaro (Rutaceae) Extracts Inhibit the Growth of the Breast Cancer Cell Lines MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7, But Not the Brain Tumour Cell Line U251 In Vitro.

Department of Pharmacy, University of Wolverhampton, MA Building, Wulfruna Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1LY, UK.
Phytotherapy Research (Impact Factor: 2.07). 07/2012; DOI: 10.1002/ptr.4775
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Zanthoxylum usambarense (Engl.) Kokwaro has traditionally been used for the treatment of malaria, upper respiratory tract infections, cough, rheumatism, tooth decay and sore gums in Kenya and other African countries. Dried ground parts of Z. usambarense were extracted by maceration using methanol (MeOH) at room temperature, extract was dried and reconstituted in 70% aq. MeOH and partitioned against n-hexane and chloroform (CHCl(3) ) to obtain MeOH, n-hexane and CHCl(3) extracts. All extracts were assessed for cytotoxicity against two breast cancer cell lines, MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7, and the brain tumour cell line U251 by the MTT assay. The free-radical scavenging activity of the extracts was also determined by the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picryhydrazyl (DPPH) assay. In the DPPH assay, the MeOH extract was found to be the most active free-radical scavenger with a RC(50) value of 41.1 × 10(-3)  mg/mL. It also displayed significant cytotoxicity against the MCF-7 cell line (IC(50) 42.9 µg/mL) and appeared to have induced cell death through apoptosis. None of the test extracts showed any activity against the U251 cell line at test concentrations. The present findings demonstrated that Z. usambarense could be a potential source for new cytotoxic compounds for possible anticancer drug development. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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