48 Journal of Young Pharmacists Vol 3 / No 1
observed from Ayurvedic literature and ethanobotanical
studies that the plant Adiantum venustum Don is very useful
in treating tumor, prevention of hair from falling, and as
a diuretic, but no scientic investigation has been carried
Therefore, it was thought worthwhile to carry out
preliminary phytochemical screening and screening of A.
venustum Don for anticancer activity against Ehrlich Ascites
Carcinoma in animal model.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The leaves and stem of A. venustum Don [Figure 1] were
collected from Kolli Hills, Namakkal District, Tamilnadu,
India, and were authenticated. Reference number of the
authentication report is BSI/SC/5/23/05.06/Tech/603.
The leaves and stem of A. venustum were dried under shade,
mixed together, and then made in to a coarse powder in
The chemotherapy of neoplastic disease has become
increasingly important in recent years. The relatively
high toxicity of most anticancer drugs has fostered the
development of supplementary drugs that may alleviate
this toxic effect or stimulate the regrowth of depleted
normal cells. Plants have a long history of use in the
treatment of cancer, and they have played a vital role as a
source of effective anticancer agent. It is signicant that
over 60% of currently used anticancer agents are derived,
in one way or another, from natural sources, including
plants, marine organism, and microorganisms.
It was also
Anticancer Evaluation of Adiantum venustum Don
Viral D, Shivanand P, Jivani NP
Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Smt. R. B. P. Mahila Pharmacy College, Atkot, India
Address for correspondence: D. Viral; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cancer is a malignant disease that is characterized by rapid and uncontrolled formation of abnormal cells which
may mass together to form a growth or tumor, or proliferate throughout the body. Next to heart disease, cancer
is a major killer of mankind. This study aims at a preliminary phytochemical screening and anticancer evaluation
of Adiantum venustum Don against Ehrlich Ascites Carcinoma in animal model. The ndings indicate that
ethanolic extract of A. venustum Don possesses signicant anticancer activity and also reduces elevated level
of lipid peroxidation due to the presence of terpenoids and avonoids. Thus, ethanolic extract of A. venustum
Don could have vast therapeutic application against cancer.
Key words: Adiantum venustum, Cancer, avonoids, lipid peroxidation, terpenoids
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Journal of Young Pharmacists Vol 3 / No 1 49
a mechanical grinder. The powder was passed through
sieve no. 40 and stored in an airtight container for further
use. The dried powder material (150 g) was defatted with
petroleum ether (60–80°) to remove waxy substances and
chlorophyll. The marc, after defatted with petroleum ether,
was dried and extracted with ethanol (99.9% v/v) in a
Soxhlet extractor for 72 h. The solvent was then distilled
off, and the resulting semisolid mass was dried in a vacuum
evaporator to get a yield of 14% w/w.
Phytochemical identication tests
Various chemical tests were performed for the identication
of phytoconstituents in Pet. ether and ethanolic extract of
the leaves and stem of A. venustum following the standard
Toxicity evaluation (LD
): (Karber’s methods)
Swiss albino mice weighing 20–25 g were used for the study.
Animals were fed a standard pellet and water and maintain
at 24–28 °C temperature, 60–70% relative humidity and
12 h day and night cycle. Animals ascribed as fasted were
deprived of food for 16 h, but had free access to water.
Fifty-four mice including both male and female weighing
20–25 g were selected for the study. Overnight faster mouse
were divided into nine groups including four for PEETR
and four for EETR and one control group each consists
of six mice. Different doses of extract (200, 500, 1000,
and 2000 mg/kg) were administered to nine experimental
groups and control group received vehicle.
The animals observed continuously for their general
behavior, such as motor activity, tremors, convulsions,
straub reaction, Pilo – eraction, loss of lighting reex,
sedation, muscle relaxation, hypnosis, analgesia, ptosis,
lacrimation, diarrhea, skin color, and mortality intermittently
for next 24 h.
Male Swiss albino mice, weighing between 18 and 25 g, were
used for this study. They were maintained under standard
environmental conditions and were fed with standard
pellet diet of water ad libitum. The mice were acclimatized
to laboratory condition for 10 days before commencement
of experiment. All procedure described were reviewed and
approved by the Institutional Animal Ethical Committee of
Smt R. B. P. Mahila Pharmacy College (rbpmpc/09/1025).
Cancer cell line
EAC cells were obtained from Amala Cancer Research
Center, Kerala, India. They were maintained by weekly
intraperitoneal inoculation of 10
Preparation of extract drug and mode of administration
In the present anticancer study, ethanolic extract of
Adiantum venustum (EEAV), in the dose of 150 and 250
mg/kg, were prepared as suspension by dispersing the
ethanolic extract in a mixture of propylene glycol and sterile
physiological saline containing Tween 20 (1:3) to get the
Ehrlich’s Ascites Carcinoma was maintained by serial
transplantation from tumor-bearing Swiss Albino mice.
Ascetic uid was drawn out from tumor-bearing mice at
the log phase (day 78 of tumor bearing) of the tumor cells.
The tumor cell number was adjusted to 2 × 10
mL. Sample showing more than 90% viability was used for
transplantation. Each animal received 0.2 mL of tumor cell
suspension containing 2 × 10
Anticancer evaluation of A. venustum Don
Figure 1: Plant images
50 Journal of Young Pharmacists Vol 3 / No 1
Drug treatment schedule
Male swiss albino mice were divided into ve groups (n
= 8). All the groups were injected with EAC cells (0.2
mL of 2 × 10
cells/mouse) intraperitoneally except the
normal group. This was taken as day 0. From the rst
day normal saline (0.9% NaCl), 5 mL/kg of body weight
was administered to group 1 and propylene glycol 5 mL/
kg was administered to group 2 (cancer control) for 14
days intraperitoneally. Similarly ethanolic extract of A.
venstrum don at various doses (150 and 250 mg/kg/mouse/
day) were administered to animals of groups 3 and 4,
respectively. Standard drug vincrystine (0.8 mg/kg/day/
mice) was administered to the group 5. After administration
of last dose followed by 18 h fasting, four mice form
each group were sacriced for the study of anticancer
activity, hematological, and liver biochemical parameters.
The remaining animals in each of the groups were kept to
check the mean survival lime (MST) and percent increase
in life span of the tumor-bearing hosts.
parameters such as body weight of animals, life span of
animals, cytological studies of cell lines, hematological
parameters, RBC, WBC, hemoglobin, differential count,
and biochemical parameters were evaluated in this study.
Anticancer effect of EEAV was assayed by observation of
change with respect to body weight, ascitic tumor volume,
packed cell volume, viable and nonviable tumor cell count,
mean survived time (MST), and percentage increase in life
span (% ILS).
Tumor cell volume and packed cell volume
The mice were dissected to collect ascitic fluid from
peritoneal cavity and centrifuged to determine packed
cell volume at 1000 rpm for 5 min.
murrain tumor was carefully collected to measure the
Viable and nonviable cell count
Viable and nonviable cell counting of the ascetic cell was
done by staining with tryphan blue (0.4% in normal saline),
dye exclusion test, and count was determined in a Neubauer
counting chamber. The cells that did not take up the dye
were viable and those that took the stain were not viable.
Mean survival time and percent increased in life span
The effect of EEAV on tumor growth was observed by
MST and % ILS. MST of each group continuing four mice
were monitored by recording the mortality daily for 6 weeks
and % ILS was calculated by using following equation.
MST = (Day of rst death + Day of last death)/2.
% ILS =
MST of treated group
MST of control group
1 × 100.
Effect of EEAV on hematological parameters
Blood was collected from each mice by intracardial
puncture with blood anticoagulant (heparin), white blood
cells (WBCs), red blood cells (RBCs), hemoglobin, and
differential count were determined
in group comprise of
i. Tumor-bearing mice (control),
ii. tumor-bearing mice treated with EEAV (100 mg/kg/
iii. tumor-bearing mice treated with EEAV (200 mg/kg/
iv. normal group.
After the collection of blood samples, the mice were killed,
and their liver was excised. The isolated liver was rinsed in
ice-cold normal saline followed by cold phosphate buffer
having pH 7.4, blotted dry, and weighed. A 10% w/v
homogenate of liver was prepared in ice-cold phosphate
buffer (pH 7.4), and a portion were utilized for estimation
of lipid. Other portion of the same, after precipitation of
proteins with trichloro acetic acid (TCA), was used for the
estimation of glutathione and the remaining homogenate
was centrifuged at 1500 rpm at 4 °C for 15 min. The
supernatant, thus obtained, was used for the estimation
of superoxide dismutase, catalase, and protein content.
The experimental result were expressed as mean ± SEM.
Data were assessed by the Student t-test, P < 0.05 was
considered as statistically signicant.
Phytochemical screenings suggest that ethanolic extract
of plant contain terpenoid, phytosterols, avanoid, and
saponin which are believed to be the main potential for
anticancer activity [Table 1].
Toxicity evaluation (LD
In acute toxicity study, the given extract of A. venustum
Table 1: Result of phytoconstituent identication tests
of ethanol extract of
Phytoconstituent Phytosterol Flavonoids Triterpenoids Saponin
Ethanol extract + + + +
+ represents present, – represents absent
Viral, et al. J Young Pharm. 2011;3(1): 48-54
Journal of Young Pharmacists Vol 3 / No 1 51
Anticancer evaluation of A. venustum Don
Table 2: Effect of ethanol extract of
on survival time on EAC-bearing mice
Experimental groups Mean survival time
% Increase in life
GRP 1 – –
22 ± 0.25 –
24 ± 0.33 9.09
29 ± 0.49 31.81
31 ± 0.55 40.90
Values are mean ± SEM. Number of mice in each group (n = 8), P < 0.001.
Experimental group was compared with EAC control
Table 3: Effect of ethanol extract of
on tumor volume, packed cell volume, viable, and nonviable tumor
cell count of EAC-bearing mice
Body weight 26.11 ± 0.12 26.11 ± 0.12 24.34 ± 0.16 23.28 ± 0.13 23.9 ± 0.02
Tumor volume (mL) 0 5.82 ± 0.042 4.22 ± 0.051 3.42 ± 0.082 2.42 ± 0.13
Packed cell volume (mL) 0 2.12 ± 0.104 1.75 ± 0.043 1.05 ± 0.092 1.15 ± 0.03
Viable tumor cell count, % 10
cells /mL 0 11.25 ± 0.098 7.78 ± 0.18 4.85 ± 0.23 4.90 ± 0.015
Nonviable tumor cell count, ×10
cells/mL 0 0.5 ± 0.017 0.92 ± 0.023 1.47 ± 0.021 1.23 ± 0.81
Values are mean ± SEM. Number of mice in each group (n = 8), P < 0.01. Experimental groups was compared to EAC control weight of normal mice = 20 ± 0.15
Figure 2: Graphical representation of Mean survival time and %
increase in life span of mice
Effect of EEAV on Mean Survival Time and % Increase in Life Span
1 2 3 4 5
Mean Survival Time and
% Increse in Life Span
Mean survival time
% Increase in life span
1 Control (Saline)
2 Control (EAC)
3 EEAV 100 mg/kg
4 EEAV 200 mg/kg
Figure 3: Graphical representation of effect of EEAV on tumor volume
and packed cell volume of mice, viable cell count and non viable cell
Effect of extract on tumor volume and packed cell
volume of mice, viable cell count and non viable cell
1 2 3 4 5
Tumour volume (ml)
Packed cell volume (ml)
Viable tumour cell count
% 107 cells /ml
Non viable tumour cell
count X 107 cells / ml
did not show any mortality up to the dose of 2000 mg/
kg. It is safe dose that was determined by organization
for economic cooperation and development (OECD)
guidelines. The extract shows sedation, hypnosis, and mild
muscle relaxant property. Administration of EEAV reduces
the tumor volume, packed cell volume, and viable tumor
cell count in a dose-dependant manner when compared
to EAC control mice. In EAC control mice, the median
survival time was 22 ± 0.25 days. Whereas, it was signicant
increased median survival time (24 ± 0.33, 29 ± 0.49)
with different doses (150 and 250 mg/kg) of EEAV and
standard drug, respectively. The mean survival time (MST)
and the effect of EEAV (150 and 250 mg/kg) at different
doses on tumor volume, viable, and nonviable cell count,
were shown in Tables 2 and 3 and graphical representation
are shown in Figures 2 and 3.
Effect EEAV on hematological parameter
EEAV at the dose of 100 and 200 mg/kg, the hemoglobin
content in EAC-bearing mice were increased to 10.6 ±
0.057 and 11.45 ± 0.057. The hemoglobin content in the
EAC control mice (9.8 ± 0.02) was signicantly decreased
as compared to normal mice (12.85 ± 0.25). The total WBC
count was signicantly higher in the EAC-treated mice
when compared to normal mice. Whereas EEAV-treated
mice signicantly reduced the WBC count as compared
to that of control mice. Signicant changes observed on
differential count when extract-treated mice compared to
EAC control mice [Table 4] [Figure 4].
52 Journal of Young Pharmacists Vol 3 / No 1
Biochemical assay indicated that EEAV significantly
reduced the elevated levels of lipid peroxidation, and
thereby it may act as an antitumor agent. The level of
lipid peroxidation, catalase, and protein content were
summarized in Table 5 and graphical representation is
shown in Figure 5.
This study was carried out to evaluate the antitumor effect
and antioxidant status of plant extract in EAC-bearing
mice. The plant extract-treated animals at the doses of 150
and 250 mg/kg signicantly inhibited the tumor volume,
packed cell volume, tumor cell count, and brought back
the hematological parameters to more or less normal levels.
The extract also restored the hepatic lipid peroxidation
and antioxidant enzymes such as CAT in tumor-bearing
mice to near normal levels. In short-term toxicity studies,
the administration of plant extract at the dose of 150
and 250 mg/kg for 14 days did not exhibit any adverse
effect. In EAC-bearing mice, a regular rapid increase in
ascites tumor volume was noted. Ascites uid is the direct
nutritional source for tumor cells and a rapid increase in
ascitic uid with tumor growth would be a means to meet
the nutritional requirement of tumor cells.
Table 4: Effect of ethanol extract of
on hematological parameters of EAC-treated mice
Hemoglobin (g) 12.85 ± 0.25 9.8 ± 0.02 10.6 ± 0.057 11.45 ± 0.18* 11.7 ± 0.045*
Total RBC million/mmcu 6.65 ± 0.18 3.8 ± 0.035 4.75 ± 0.032 5.42 ± 0.22* 5.8 ± 0.054
Total WBC million/mmcu 7.8 ± 0.045 20.07 ± 0.068* 11.92 ± 0.042 8.85 ± 0.059 9.12 ± 0.055
Lymphocyte 77.75 ± 0.19 33.37 ± 0.56* 52.7 ± 0.50* 60.72 ± 0.36* 59.12 ± 0.30
Monocyte 1.7 ± 0.035 0.82 ± 0.024 1.15 ± 0.014* 1.2 ± 0.045 1.32 ± 0.024
Granulocyte 29.97 ± 0.46 52.6 ± 0.37* 40.87 ± 0.2 31.72 ± 0.63* 41.65 ± 0.29
Values are mean ± SEM, (n = 8). EAC control group compared to normal group. Experimental group compared to EAC control. P < 0.01, *P < 0.05
Table 5: Effect of different doses of ethanolic extract of
on different biochemical parameter in
Lipid peroxidation n mole MDA/g of tissue
0.92 ± 0.02 1.36 ± 0.09* 1.27 ± 0.04* 1.13 ± 0.02 2.45 ± 0.25
Catalase (units/mg tissues) 2.51 ± 0.72 1.71 ± 0.15* 1.75 ± 0.13 2.34 ± 0.23* 3.56 ± 0.63
Protein content (g/100 mL) 12.66 ± 0.69* 17.25 ± 0.76 16.50 ± 0.70 16.10 ± 0.55 20.24 ± 0.47
Values are mean ± SEM, (n = 8). EAC control group compared to normal group. Experimental group compared to EAC control. P < 0.05, *P < 0.05
Figure 5: Graphical representation of effect of EEAV on different
Effect of extract on biochemical parameter
1 2 3 4 5
Lipid peroxidation n mole
MDA/gm of tissue
Catalase (units /mg
(gm / 100 ml)
Figure 4: Graphical representation of effect of Ethanolic Extract of
A. venstrun don on haematological parameters
Effect of EEAV on Haematologigal Parameters
1 2 3 4 5
Viral, et al. J Young Pharm. 2011;3(1): 48-54
Journal of Young Pharmacists Vol 3 / No 1 53
with plant extract inhibited the tumor volume, tumor
cell count, and increased the percentage of tryphan blue
positive stained dead cells in tumor-bearing mice. The
reliable criteria for judging the value of any anticancer
drug are the rolongation of the life span of animals.
The plant extract decreased the ascites uid volume, viable
cell count, and increased the percentage of life span. It
may be concluded that plant extract by decreasing the
nutritional uid volume and arresting the tumor growth
increases the life span of EAC-bearing mice. Usually, in
cancer chemotherapy the major problems that are being
encountered are of myelosuppression and anemia.
anemia encountered in tumor-bearing mice is mainly due to
reduction in RBC or hemoglobin percentage, and this may
occur either due to iron deciency or due to hemolytic or
Treatment with plant extract
brought back the hemoglobin content, RBC, and WBC
count more or less to normal levels. This indicates that plant
extract possesses protective action on the hemopoietic
system. Lipid peroxidation, an autocatalytic free-radical
chain propagating reaction, is known to be associated with
pathological conditions of a cell. Malondialdehyde (MDA),
the end product of lipid peroxidation, was reported to
be higher in cancer tissues than in nondiseased organ.
Excessive production of free radicals resulted in oxidative
stress, which leads to damage of macromolecules, for
example lipid peroxidation in vivo.
It was also reported
that the presence of tumors in the human body or in
experimental animals is known to affect many functions
of the vital organs, especially in the liver, even when the
site of the tumor does not interfere directly with organ
Plant extract signicantly reduced the elevated
levels of lipid peroxidation and increased the glutathione
content in EAC-treated mice. The antitumerogenic effect
of plant extract may be due to the antioxidant, and the
free-radical quenching property of the phytoconstituents
of plant extract. Cells are also equipped with enzymatic
antioxidant mechanisms that play an important role in the
elimination of free radicals. SOD, CAT, and glutathione
peroxides are involved in the clearance of superoxide and
hydrogen peroxide (H
). SOD catalyses the diminution
of superoxide into H
, which has to be eliminated by
glutathione peroxidase and/or catalase.
A small amount
of catalase in tumor cells was reported.
of SOD and CAT activities as a result of tumor growth
were also reported.
Similar ndings were observed in this
study with EAC-bearing mice. The administration of plant
extract at different doses signicantly increased CAT levels
in a dose-dependent manner. It was reported that plant-
derived extracts containing antioxidant principles showed
cytotoxicity toward tumor cells
and antitumor activity
in experimental animals.
Antitumor activity of these
antioxidants is either through induction of apoptosis
or by inhibition of neovascularization.
of free radicals in tumors is well documented.
radical hypothesis supported the fact that the antioxidants
effectively inhibit the tumor, and the observed properties
may be attributed to the antioxidant and antitumor
principles present in the extract. This study demonstrates
that plant extract increased the life span of EAC-tumor-
bearing mice and decreased the lipid peroxidation and
thereby augmented the endogenous antioxidant enzymes in
the liver. The above-mentioned parameters are responsible
for the antitumor and antioxidant activities of A. venstrum
don. Further investigations are in progress in our laboratory
to identify the active principles involved in this anticancer
and antioxidant activity.
The EEAV possessed signicant anticancer and antioxidant
activity due to the presence of terpenoids and avonoids.
Further investigation on various biological activities of this
plant with different modes will not only validate the types
of activities claimed by Ayurvedic, Siddha, and traditional
practitioners, but also will bring out innovation in the eld
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Source of Support: Nil, Conict of Interest: None declared.
Viral, et al. J Young Pharm. 2011;3(1): 48-54
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