Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, Vol 7, 2006
Prevention of Skin Tumorigenesis by Tribulus terrestris
Asian Pacific J Cancer Prev, 7, 289-294
Epidemiological studies have indicated that the risk of
cancer may be modified by changes in dietary habits
(Prochaska, 1997). Humans ingest a large number of
naturally occurring antimutagens and anticarcinogens in
food, which may inhibit one or more stages of the
carcinogenesis (Hocman, 1989). Several studies have
indicated that compounds with antioxidant or anti-
inflammatory properties as well as certain phytochemicals
can inhibit tumor initiation, promotion and progression in
experimental animal models (Perchellet and Perchellet,
1989; Chesson and Collins, 1997).
The medicinal herb Tribulus terrestris Linn. (Family :
Zygophillaceae) is native to the mediterranean, tropics,
subtropics and temperate regions of the world has been
subjected to long term clinical trails in "AYURVEDA". The
fruits are credited with aphrodisiac, diuretic, cooling,
demulcent and tonic properties, which are used to treat
kidney stones, painful urination, genito-urinary disorders,
diabetes, piles, rheumatisum, dropsy, breathing difficulties,
heart disease and impotence. The root is considered to have
tonic properties, and is a constitutent of the Ayurvedic
preparation Dasamula (CSIR, 1948-1992; Sivarajan and
Balachandran, 1994). It has been reported that Tribulus
terrestris contains saponins, quercetin, kaempferol and rutin
which are known to have antioxidant and anticancer
Chemopreventive Potential of Tribulus terrestris against 7,12-
Dimethylbenz (a) anthracene Induced Skin Papillomagenesis in
Manish Kumar, Anil Kumar Soni, Shalini Shukla, Ashok Kumar*
Radiation and Cancer Biology Laboratory, Department of Zoology, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur-302004, India, E-mail address :
In the present investigation, the chemopreventive potential of aqueous extracts of the root and fruit of Tribulus
terrestris (an Ayurvedic medicinal plant) on 7, 12 - dimethylbenz (a) anthracene (DMBA) induced papillomagenesis
in male Swiss albino mice was studied. A significant reduction in tumor incidence, tumor burden and cumulative
number of papillomas was observed, along with a significant increase in average latent period in mice treated orally
with Tribulus terrestris suspension continuously at pre, peri and post-initiation stages of papillomagenesis as compared
to the control group treated with DMBA and croton oil alone. Treatment with Tribulus terrestris suspension by oral
gavage for 7 days resulted in a significant increase in the reduced glutathione content in the liver (P<0.001 for both
root and fruit extracts). Conversely, lipid peroxidation levels were significantly decreased (P<0.001).
Key Words: Chemoprevention - DMBA- croton oil - Tribulus terrestris - reduced glutathione- lipid peroxidation
properties (Ross, 2001). Two new steroid saponins named
terrestrinins A(1) and B(2), along with furostanol, gigenin,
hecogenin, ruscogenin, gitogenin and tigonenin have been
isolated (Huang et al., 2003; De Combarien et al., 2003)
and anticancer properties of Tribulus terrestris have been
reported on various cell lines i.e. mouse sarcoma 180 (ASC),
Bcap-37 breast cancer cell line, BEL- 7402 liver cancer cell
line, SK- MEL, KB, BT- 549 and SK- OV-3 ( Itokowa, 1998;
Bedir et al., 2002; Sun et al., 2003; Sun et al., 2004). The
purpose of cancer prevention is to cause delay in onset of
cancer, progression from precancerous lesion or recurrence
after treatment, as an alternative to treatment of cancer cases
after clinical symptoms have appeared (Tsuda et al., 2004).
In the present investigation, the chemopreventive
potential of Tribulus terrestris against 7, 12 - dimethyl benz
(a) anthracene (DMBA) induced skin carcinogenesis in
Swiss albino mice has been evaluated.
Materials and Methods
Random bred male Swiss albino mice (7- 8 weeks old),
weighing 24 ± 2 gm were used for the experiments. These
animals were housed in polypropylene cages in the animal
house at temperatures of 24 ± 30
provided with standard mice feed (from Hindustan Lever
Ltd., India) and tap water ad libitum.
oC. The animals were
Manish Kumar et al
Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, Vol 7, 2006
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