Anti-proliferative and anti-cancer properties of Achyranthes aspera: Specific inhibitory activity against pancreatic cancer cells

Pochi R. Subbarayan, Malancha Sarkar, Stefania Impellizzeri, Francisco Raymo, Balakrishna L. Lokeshwar, Pradeep Kumar, Ram P. Agarwal, Bach Ardalan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Aims of the study: Achyranthes aspera (Family: Amaranthacea) is a medicinal plant used as an anti-cancer agent in ayurveda, a traditional system of medicine practiced in subcontinental India. The aim of the study was to systematically investigate the anti-proliferative properties of Achyranthes aspera leaves extracted in methanol (LE) on human cancer cells in vitro. Materials and methods: We tested time, dose dependent and specific anti-proliferative activity of LE by clonogenic cell survival assay on human cancer and normal epithelial cell lines in vitro. We further investigated its effect on the expression of metastatic and angiogenic genes by real time polymerase chain reaction. On silica gel column, we carried out initial fractionation analysis. Results: LE exhibited time and dose dependent cytotoxicity on several tumor cells. Compared to cancer cells of colon, breast, lung and prostate origin, pancreatic cancer cells were significantly more sensitive to LE. Preliminary mechanistic studies suggested that LE selectively suppressed the transcription of metalloproteases (MMP-1 and -2), inhibitors of MMPs (TIMP-2) and angiogenic factors (VEGF-A and VEGF-B). Fractionation of LE on methanol equilibrated silica gel column resolved into three fractions of which fraction (F 3) was found to be enriched with anti-proliferative activity. Conclusion: Methanolic extract of Achyranthes aspera contains potent anti-proliferative compound with specific activity against pancreatic cancer. Further studies are needed to confirm the in vivo anti-tumorigenicity and subsequent chemical characterization of the active molecule(s).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-82
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Ethnopharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Anti-angiogenic agents
  • Ayurvedic medicine
  • Ethno botanicals
  • Natural anti-tumor agents
  • Real Time PCR
  • Traditional medical system (TMS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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