Lemongrass Compounds Halt Lung Cancer Cell Growth Through Key Protein Inhibition

Jim Crocker
24th May, 2024

Lemongrass Compounds Halt Lung Cancer Cell Growth Through Key Protein Inhibition

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers at Al Azhar University found that Cymbopogon proximus, a medicinal plant, has potent anticancer effects against lung cancer cells
  • The petroleum ether extract of C. proximus was particularly effective, significantly inhibiting the growth of A549 lung cancer cells
  • The study identified specific compounds in the extract that target and inhibit CDK2/cyclinA2 proteins, crucial for cell cycle regulation, thereby preventing cancer cell proliferation
Lung cancer remains a leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide, with varying incidence and mortality rates influenced by factors such as smoking patterns, environmental exposures, and economic conditions[2]. Recent advancements in molecular profiling and targeted therapies have provided new insights into lung cancer treatment, but the search for effective and less toxic chemotherapeutics continues. A recent study conducted by researchers at Al Azhar University explored the anticancer potential of Cymbopogon proximus, a plant known for its various medicinal properties, against several cancer cell lines, including lung cancer cells[1]. Cymbopogon proximus, commonly known as "halfa-bar," contains several phytoconstituents reported to have anticancer activity. However, comprehensive studies on its anticancer potential were lacking. The study aimed to fill this gap by examining the cytotoxic effects of different extracts of C. proximus on liver (HepG2), lung (A549), prostate (PC3), and bone (MG63) cancer cell lines using the MTT assay, a standard test for measuring cell metabolic activity and viability. The MTT assay results showed that the petroleum ether fraction of C. proximus was particularly effective against A549 lung cancer cells, with an IC50 value of 14.02 ± 2.79 µM, indicating a potent cytotoxic effect. To understand the mechanism behind this cytotoxicity, the researchers used flow cytometry to analyze the cell cycle, identifying the specific phase where cell growth was inhibited. They found that the petroleum ether fraction caused cell cycle arrest in the A549 cells, preventing them from proliferating. Further chemical analysis using Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) revealed the presence of several compounds in the active fraction, including Di-N-octyl phthalate, 3-β-hydroxylean-11.13(18)-dien-30-oic acid methyl ester, elemol hydrocarbons, linoelaidic acid, and linoleic acid. To delve deeper into the molecular mechanisms, the study employed molecular docking, a technique that predicts the preferred orientation of one molecule to a second when bound to each other to form a stable complex. This analysis showed that the identified compounds had strong binding affinities to CDK2, a protein involved in cell cycle regulation, similar to the binding observed with the native ligand R-Roscovitine, a known CDK2 ATP inhibitor. Western blot analysis further confirmed that the petroleum ether fraction suppressed the expression of CDK2/cyclinA2 proteins in A549 cells, thereby inhibiting their proliferation. The findings from this study are significant as they propose a new, plant-based source of potential chemotherapeutic agents that could be developed further for lung cancer treatment. The identification of specific compounds that target CDK2/cyclinA2 pathways aligns with the ongoing research into targeted therapies for lung cancer[2]. Additionally, the study's use of molecular docking and Western blot analysis to confirm the mechanism of action provides a robust framework for future research. Interestingly, this study complements earlier findings on the use of transition metal-based chemotherapeutics, such as osmium(II) arene complexes, which also showed promising results against A549 lung cancer cells by inducing apoptosis and affecting the mitochondrial pathways[3]. Both studies highlight the importance of exploring diverse chemical entities and natural products for developing new cancer therapies. Furthermore, the cardioprotective properties of C. proximus, as demonstrated in a study involving cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis in rats, suggest that this plant may offer additional health benefits beyond its anticancer potential[4]. In conclusion, the research conducted by Al Azhar University provides compelling evidence for the anticancer potential of Cymbopogon proximus, particularly against lung cancer cells. By identifying and validating the active compounds and their mechanisms of action, this study opens new avenues for developing plant-based chemotherapeutics that could complement existing cancer treatments.

MedicineBiochemPlant Science


Main Study

1) Cymbopogon proximus phytochemicals induce S-phase arrest in A549 lung cancer cell lines via CDK2/cyclin A2 inhibition: gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and molecular docking analyses.

Published 24th May, 2024


Related Studies

2) Global Epidemiology of Lung Cancer.


3) Potent organometallic osmium compounds induce mitochondria-mediated apoptosis and S-phase cell cycle arrest in A549 non-small cell lung cancer cells.


4) Cymbopogon Proximus Essential Oil Protects Rats against Isoproterenol-Induced Cardiac Hypertrophy and Fibrosis.


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