Indian journal of experimental biology

Anticancer and anti-inflammatory activities of some dietary cucurbits.

PMID 26011982


In this study, we investigated few dietary cucurbits for anticancer activity by monitoring cytotoxic (MTT and LDH assays), apoptotic (caspase-3 and annexin-V assays), and also their anti-inflammatory effects by IL-8 cytokine assay. Aqua-alcoholic (50:50) whole extracts of cucurbits [Lagenaria siceraria (Ls), Luffa cylindrica (Lc) and Cucurbita pepo (Cp)] were evaluated in colon cancer cells (HT-29 and HCT-15) and were compared with isolated biomolecule, cucurbitacin-B (Cbit-B). MTT and LDH assays revealed that the cucurbit extracts and Cbit-B, in a concentration dependent manner, decreased the viability of HT-29 and HCT-15 cells substantially. The viability of lymphocytes was, however, only marginally decreased, yielding a potential advantage over the tumor cells. Caspase-3 assay revealed maximum apoptosis with Ls while annexin V assay demonstrated maximum efficacy of Lc in this context. These cucurbits have also shown decreased secretion of IL-8, thereby revealing their anti-inflammatory capability. The results have demonstrated the therapeutic potential of dietary cucurbits in inhibiting cancer and inflammatory cytokine.