Testing Plant Extracts on Breast Cancer Growth and a Potential New Drug Target

Jim Crocker
17th May, 2024

Testing Plant Extracts on Breast Cancer Growth and a Potential New Drug Target

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers at the University of Pretoria identified plant extracts that could help combat breast cancer metastasis by upregulating CD82
  • Extracts from Buddleja saligna (BS) and Combretum apiculatum (CA) significantly inhibited breast cancer cell growth and invasion
  • BS and CA also showed potential to restrict tumor blood supply by inhibiting new blood vessel formation
Breast cancer remains the most common cancer among women worldwide and is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths[2]. The challenge of metastasis, where cancer spreads to other parts of the body, complicates treatment and often leads to treatment failure. Metastasis suppressors like Cluster of Differentiation 82 (CD82) play a crucial role in inhibiting this spread by regulating cell motility, invasion, and other mechanisms[2]. However, current therapies do not effectively target CD82 to prevent metastasis. A recent study by researchers at the University of Pretoria[1] aimed to identify plant extracts that could upregulate CD82, thereby offering a new approach to combat breast cancer metastasis. In this study, seventeen ethanolic plant extracts were screened for their effects on cell proliferation, invasion, and CD82 expression in breast cancer cells. The extracts were tested against two breast cancer cell lines (MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7) and a kidney cell line (Hek293) to determine their selectivity and effectiveness. The researchers also assessed the extracts' ability to inhibit angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow and spread. The study found that several extracts displayed varying levels of antiproliferative activity. Extracts from Buddleja saligna (BS), Combretum apiculatum (CA), Foeniculum vulgare (FV), Greyia radlkoferi (GR), Gunnera perpensa (GP), and Persicaria senegalensis (PS) showed significant inhibitory effects on the MDA-MB-231 cell line. Among these, BS and CA were particularly effective, with IC50 values (the concentration required to inhibit cell growth by 50%) of 44.46 µg/mL and 74.00 µg/mL, respectively. Further evaluation revealed that BS and CA had significant anti-invasive properties, meaning they could prevent cancer cells from spreading. At a concentration of 40 µg/mL, BS inhibited invasion by 96.73%, and CA by 98.24%. These extracts were also tested for their ability to stimulate CD82 expression, a key factor in preventing metastasis. Interestingly, CA increased CD82 expression at a lower concentration (20 µg/mL) but decreased it at a higher concentration (40 µg/mL), suggesting a complex, dose-dependent mechanism. Foeniculum vulgare, commonly known as fennel, has been traditionally used for various medicinal purposes and has shown potential antitumor properties[3]. However, in this study, FV did not show significant anti-invasive activity, highlighting the importance of context-specific research in identifying effective treatments. The study also explored the anti-angiogenic potential of the extracts using a yolk sac membrane assay. BS and CA significantly inhibited the formation of new blood vessels, with BS showing activity comparable to the positive control, combretastatin A4. This suggests that these extracts could potentially restrict the blood supply to tumors, thereby inhibiting their growth and spread. The findings from this study offer promising new avenues for breast cancer treatment. By identifying plant extracts that can upregulate CD82 and inhibit both invasion and angiogenesis, the researchers have provided a foundation for developing new therapies that target multiple aspects of cancer progression. The study also underscores the importance of further research to isolate the bioactive compounds responsible for these effects and to evaluate their efficacy in more complex models, such as breast cancer xenografts. In summary, the study by the University of Pretoria highlights the potential of plant extracts, particularly from Buddleja saligna and Combretum apiculatum, in combating breast cancer metastasis through mechanisms involving CD82 regulation and angiogenesis inhibition. This research builds on previous findings about the importance of metastasis suppressors[2] and the diverse pharmacological properties of traditional medicinal plants like Foeniculum vulgare[3], offering new hope for more effective breast cancer treatments.

MedicineBiochemPlant Science


Main Study

1) Evaluating the effects of various ethanolic medicinal plant extracts on metastatic breast cancer proliferation, invasion, and expression of a novel potential drug target; CD82 metastatic suppressor protein, and on in vivo angiogenesis using the ex ovo yolk sac membrane (YSM) assay.

Published 16th May, 2024

Journal: Journal of cancer research and clinical oncology

Issue: Vol 150, Issue 5, May 2024

Related Studies

2) Role of a metastatic suppressor gene KAI1/CD82 in the diagnosis and prognosis of breast cancer.


3) Foeniculum vulgare Mill: a review of its botany, phytochemistry, pharmacology, contemporary application, and toxicology.


Related Articles

An unhandled error has occurred. Reload 🗙