Cytotoxic Activity of Three Nigerian Medicinal Plant Extracts on Breast/Colon Cancer Cell Lines

Alexandra I Onyejiaka, Tennessee State University


This year, about 562,340 Americans are expected to die of cancer, more than 1500 people a day. Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the US, exceeded only by heart disease. In the US, cancer accounts for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths. Our study focuses primarily on three plants never before investigated for antitumor activity. They were chosen based upon native ethno medicinal usages. Indigenous primarily to the southwestern region of Nigeria; Enantia chlorantha, Nauclea latifolia, and Citrus medica have all been traditionally used and studies have proven their noteworthy antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti parasitical activities. These important characteristics provide the rationale behind studying these plants further for potential antitumor agents. Experimental: Methanolic leaf and bark extracts in a series of concentrations were taken from the previously stated plants and exposed to two breast and two colorectal cancer cells for 24 hours. Growth analysis is determined using a cell viability indicator alamar blue and a florescent plate reader. Results: Enantia chlorantha and Citrus medica demonstrated the most potential for containing novel antitumor compounds. However, E. chlorantha proved to be exceedingly toxic to the cellular proliferation of all four tumors cell lines at all concentrations. In addition to this, Nauclea latifoli a extracts illustrated the least potential for antitumor activity. In most cases this extract showed little or no effect in reducing cellular proliferation. Conclusion: We conclude that leaf extracts from E. chlorantha and C. medica should be studied further to characterize their antitumor potential, investigate their main active compounds, and to better understand their mechanisms of action.

Subject Area

Molecular biology|Cellular biology

Recommended Citation

Alexandra I Onyejiaka, "Cytotoxic Activity of Three Nigerian Medicinal Plant Extracts on Breast/Colon Cancer Cell Lines" (2009). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI1533535.