Four complex flavanones, kurziflavolactones A , B , C , and D  and a complex chalcone 6 with an unprecedented carbon side chain on the flavanone or chalcone A ring have been isolated from a Malaysian plant, Cryptocarya kurzii (Lauraceae). Their structures were determined by extensive spectroscopic analysis, especially 2D nmr experiments. Compounds 3 and 6 showed slight cytotoxicity against KB cells, with IC50 values of 4 and 15 micrograms/ml, respectively. A biosynthetic pathway for the formation of these compounds is suggested.
Bioassay-guided fractionation of the extracts of Zieridium pseudobtusifolium and Acronychia porteri led to the isolation of 5,3'-dihydroxy-3,6,7,8,4'-pentamethoxyflavone , which showed activity against (KB) human nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells (IC50 0.04 micrograms/ml) and inhibited tubulin assembly into microtubules (IC50 12 microM). Two other known flavonols, digicitrin  and 5-hydroxy-3,6,7,8,3',4'-hexamethoxyflavone , were also isolated together with three new ones, 3-O-demethyldigicitrin , 3,5,3'-trihydroxy-6,7,8,4'-tetramethoxyflavone , and 3,5-dihydroxy-6,7,8,3',4'-pentamethoxyflavone . All of these flavonols showed cytotoxic activity against KB cells.
Bioassay-guided fractionation of an ethyl acetate extract of Fissistigma lanuginosum led to the isolation of the known chalcone pedicin , which inhibited tubulin assembly into microtubules (IC50 value of 300 microM). From the same EtOAc fraction, two new condensed chalcones, fissistin  and isofissistin , which showed cytotoxicity against KB cells, were also obtained, together with the inactive dihydropedicin  and 6,7-dimethoxy-5,8-dihydroxyflavone . In addition, the aminoquinones 6, 8, and 9 were isolated from the alkaloid extract. These compounds were artifacts, prepared by treatment of 1, 4, and 2, respectively, with NH4OH. The structures of the new compounds were elucidated by spectral methods, especially 2D nmr.
The cytotoxicity of goniothalamin was found to be strong towards both cancerous (HGC-27, MCF-7, PANC-1, HeLa), and non-cancerous (3T3) cell lines, especially in cases of dividing cells. Drug exposure studies indicated that the cytotoxic action of goniothalamin was time- and dose-dependent. At the ultrastructural level, goniothalamin-induced cytotoxicity revealed a necrotic mode of cell death towards MCF-7 cells.
Four new bisindoles of the vobasine-iboga type, conodiparines A-D were obtained from Tabernaemontana corymbosa which showed appreciable activity in reversing resistance in vincristine-resistant KB cells.
A series of indole alkaloids of the aspidofractinine-type was assessed for their potential in reversing MDR in vincristine-resistant KB cells. Of the compounds tested, kopsiflorine, kopsamine, pleiocarpine, 11-methoxykopsilongine, lahadinine A and N-methoxycarbonyl-11,12-methylenedioxy-delta 16,17-kopsinine were found to show appreciable activity.
The EtOH extract of the leaves of Holarrhena curtisii yielded five new steroidal alkaloids: 17-epi-holacurtine (3), 17-epi-N-demethylholacurtine (4), holacurtinol (5), 3alpha-amino-14beta-hydroxypregnan-20-one (7), and 15alpha-hydroxyholamine (8), in addition to the known compounds, holacurtine (1), N-demethylholacurtine (2), and holamine (6). All eight compounds showed significant cytotoxic and leishmanicidal activities.
Nine 3,4-secoapotirucallanes, argentinic acids A-I, were isolated from the bark of Aglaia argentea and transformed to their methyl esters 1-9. The structures were determined by spectral and chemical means. Compounds 1-8 showed moderate cytotoxic activity against KB cells (IC50 1.0-3.5 microg/mL).
Leaf extracts of the Malaysian plant Aglaia laxiflora provided two cytotoxic compounds, a new rocaglaol rhamnoside (1), a known rocaglaol (2), new (but inactive) flavonol-cinnamaminopyrrolidine adducts (3-6), and their probable biosynthetic precursors (7 and trimethoxyflavonol). All structures were elucidated primarily by 2D NMR spectroscopy. The structure and stereochemistry of aglaxiflorin A (3) were confirmed by single-crystal X-ray crystallography.
Leaf extracts of Garcinia parvifolia provided relatively high yields of four novel, cytotoxic prenylated depsidones. The structures were determined mainly by detailed NMR spectral analysis and X-ray crystallography.
Crude extracts (methanol) of various parts, viz. the leaves, fruits, roots, stem and trunk bark, of Garcinia atroviridis were screened for antimicrobial, cytotoxic, brine shrimp toxic, antitumour-promoting and antioxidant activities. The crude extracts exhibited predominantly antibacterial activity with the root extract showing the strongest inhibition against the test bacteria at a minimum inhibitory dose (MID) of 15.6 microg/disc. Although all the extracts failed to inhibit the growth of most of the test fungi, significant antifungal activity against Cladosporium herbarum was exhibited by most notably the fruit (MID: 100 microg), and the leaf (MID: 400 microg) extracts. None of the extracts were significantly cytotoxic, and lethal towards brine shrimps. The root, leaf, trunk and stem bark extracts (except for the fruits) showed strong antioxidant activity exceeding that of the standard antioxidant, alpha-tocopherol. Antitumour-promoting activity (>95% inhibition) was shown by the fruit, leaf, stem and trunk bark extracts.
The vitamin E component of palm oil provides a rich source of tocotrienols which have been shown previously to be growth inhibitory to two human breast cancer cell lines: responsive MCF7 cells and unresponsive MDA-MB-231 cells. Data presented here shows that the tocotrienol-rich fraction (TRF) of palm oil and individual fractions (alpha, gamma and delta) can also inhibit the growth of another responsive human breast cancer cell line, ZR-75-1. At low concentrations in the absence of oestrogen tocotrienols stimulated growth of the ZR-75-1 cells, but at higher concentrations in the presence as well as in the absence of oestradiol, tocotrienols inhibited cell growth strongly. As for MCF7 cells, alpha-tocopherol had no effect on growth of the ZR-75-1 cells in either the absence or presence of oestradiol. In studying the effects of tocotrienols in combination with antioestrogens, it was found that TRF could further inhibit growth of ZR-75-1 cells in the presence of tamoxifen (10(-7) M and 10(-8) M). Individual tocotrienol fractions (alpha, gamma, delta) could inhibit growth of ZR-75-1 cells in the presence of 10(-8) M oestradiol and 10(-8) M pure antioestrogen ICI 164,384. The immature mouse uterine weight bioassay confirmed that TRF could not exert oestrogen antagonist action in vivo. These results provide evidence of wider growth-inhibitory effects of tocotrienols beyond MCF7 and MDA-MB-231 cells, and with an oestrogen-independent mechanism of action, suggest a possible clinical advantage in combining administration of tocotrienols with antioestrogen therapy.
Two new prenylated compounds, the benzoquinone atrovirinone (1) and the depsidone atrovirisidone (2), were isolated from the roots of Garcinia atroviridis. Their structures were determined on the basis of the analysis of spectroscopic data. While compound 2 showed some cytotoxicity against HeLa cells, both compounds 1 and 2 were only mildly inhibitory toward Bacillus cereus and Staphylococcus aureus.
The plant, Typhonium flagelliforme (Araceae), commonly known as the "rodent tuber" in Malaysia, is often used as an essential ingredient of herbal remedies for alternative cancer therapies. The hexane extract of this plant was evaluated for cytotoxic activity against in vitro culture on P388 murine leukaemia cells and showed weak IC(50) of 15 microg/ml. The partial chemical constituents were identified as methyl esters of hexadecanoic acid, octadecanoic acid, 9-octadecenoic acid and 9,12-octadecadienoic acid. In addition, several common aliphatics were identified as dodecane, tridecane, tetradecane, pentadecane, hexadecane, heptadecane, octadecane, nonadecane and eicosane. The unique methyl ester of 13-phenyltridecanoic acid was isolated and positively identified using spectroscopic methods. None of the identified compounds showed or are known to have cytotoxic behaviour.
Bioassay (P388 lymphocytic leukemia cell line and human tumor cell lines)-guided separation of the extracts prepared from the tropical and coastal trees Hernandia peltata (Malaysia) and Hernandianymphaeifolia (Republic of Maldives) led to the isolation of a new lignan designated as hernanol (1) and 12 previously known lignans: (-)-deoxypodophyllotoxin (2), deoxypicropodophyllin (3), (+)-epiaschantin (4), (+)-epieudesmin (5), praderin (6), 5'-methoxyyatein (7), podorhizol (8), deoxypodorhizone (9), bursehernin (10), kusunokinol (11), clusin (12), and (-)-maculatin (13). The oxidative cyclization (with VOF(3)) of lignans 8, 9, and 10 resulted in a new and unusual benzopyran (14), isostegane (15), and a new dibenzocyclooctadiene lactone (16), respectively. The structure and relative stereochemistry of hernanol (1) and lignans 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 were determined by 1D and 2DNMR and HRMS analyses. The structures and absolute stereochemistry of structures 2, 4, 5, 6, 13, 14, 15, and 16 were unequivocally determined by single-crystal X-ray diffraction analyses. Evaluation against the murine P388 lymphocytic leukemia cell line and human tumor cell lines showed podophyllotoxin derivatives 2 and 3 to be strong cancer cell line growth inhibitors and substances 4, 5, 8, and 15 to have marginal cancer cell line inhibitory activities. Seven of the lignans and one of the synthetic modifications (14) inhibited growth of the pathogenic bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae.
Bioassay guided fractionation of the roots of Cyathostemma argenteum using the brine shrimp resulted in the isolation of two uncommon flavanones, 2,5-dihydroxy-7-methoxy flavanone 1 and 2,5-dihydroxy-6,7-dimethoxy flavanone 2 while the stem bark yielded the related compounds 5-hydroxy-7-methoxy flavone 3 and 5-hydroxy-6,7-dimethoxy flavone 4. The alkaloids liriodenine 5 and discretamine 6 as well as benzyl benzoate 7 were isolated from the roots and 6 was also isolated from the stembark. In cytotoxicity tests using four human breast cancer cell lines, 1 and 2 were weakly toxic to MCF-7 cells (IC(50) = 19.6 and 19.0 microM, respectively) but showed little activity against MCF-7 cells resistant to doxorubicin or against two oestrogen receptor-deficient cell lines. Compound 5, but not 6 and 7, was moderately cytotoxic against all four cell lines. These results are discussed in the context of the traditional use of C. argenteum in the treatment of breast cancer.
Epipremnum pinnatum (L.) Engl. hexane extract produced a significant growth inhibition against T-47D breast carcinoma cells and analysis of cell death mechanisms indicated that the extract elicited a non-apoptotic programmed cell death. T-47D cells exposed to the extract at EC(50) concentration (72 h) for 24 h failed to demonstrate typical DNA fragmentation associated with apoptosis, as carried out using a modified TUNEL assay. In addition, acute exposure to the extract produced an insignificant regulation of caspase-3 and p53 mRNA expression but increased in the c-myc mRNA expression. Ultrastructural analysis using transmission electron microscope demonstrated distinct vacuolated cells, which strongly indicated a Type II non-apoptotic cell death although the changes in chromatin were also detected. The presence of non-apoptotic programmed cell death was then reconfirmed with annexin-V and propidium iodide staining. These findings suggested that up-regulation of c-myc mRNA expression may have contributed to the growth arrest and Type II non-apoptotic programmed cell death in the Epipremnum pinnatum (L.) Engl. hexane extract-treated T-47D cells.
A new labdane diterpene glucoside, curcumanggoside (1), together with nine known compounds, including labda-8(17),12-diene-15,16-dial (2), calcaratarin A (3), zerumin B (4), scopoletin, demethoxycurcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin, 1,7-bis(4-hydroxyphenyl)-1,4,6-heptatrien-3-one, curcumin, and p-hydroxycinnamic acid, have been isolated from the rhizomes of Curcuma mangga. Their structures were determined using a combination of 1D (1H NMR, 13C NMR, DEPT) and 2D (COSY, HSQC, HMBC) NMR techniques. All diarylheptanoids and scopoletin showed significant antioxidant activity. Zerumin B, demethoxycurcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin, and curcumin also exhibited cytotoxic activity against a panel of five human tumor cell lines.
The SRB cytotoxicity assay was used to screen extracts and isolated constituents of some traditional medicinal plants from Malaysia and Thailand against two human cancer cell lines, COR L23 lung cancer cell line and MCF7 breast cancer cell line and the non-cancer MCF5 cell line. Five out of the seven species tested, i.e. Thai Alpinia galanga, Alpinia officinarum, Cayratia japonica, Physalis minima, Tabernaemontana divaricata, exhibited interesting cytotoxicity activity and this is the first report of cytotoxicity from any Cayratia species. Following bioassay-guided fractionation, 1'-acetoxychavicol acetate (48h exposure against COR L23 cells, IC(50) 7.8 microM against MCF7 cells, IC(50) 23.9 microM) was isolated as the major cytotoxic component of the Alpinia species, physalin F as the major cytotoxic component of Physalis minima (48 h exposure against COR L23 cells IC(50) 0.4 microM against MCF7 cells, IC(50) 0.59 microM). The Malaysian Alpinia galanga showed weak activity compared with the Thai sample and this was shown to be due to the relatively high amounts of 1'-acetoxychavicol acetate present in the Thai sample.