AIM OF THE STUDY: The primary aim of this review is to document the plants and natural products that are used as foods and medicines in Egypt, in general, and in Sinai, in particular, with a focus on those with demonstrated anticancer activities. The documented traditional uses of these plants are described, together with their chemical and pharmacological activities and the reported outcomes of clinical trials against cancer.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A literature search was performed to identify texts describing the medicinal plants that are cultivated and grown in Egypt, including information found in textbooks, published articles, the plant list website (http://www.theplantlist.org/), the medicinal plant names services website (http://mpns.kew.org/mpns-portal/), and web databases (PubMed, Science Direct, and Google Scholar).
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: We collected data for most of the plants cultivated or grown in Egypt that have been previously investigated for anticancer effects and reported their identified bioactive elements. Several plant species, belonging to different families and associated with 67 bioactive compounds, were investigated as potential anticancer agents (in vitro studies). The most potent cytotoxic activities were identified for the families Asteraceae, Lamiaceae, Chenopodiaceae, Apocynaceae, Asclepiadaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Gramineae, and Liliaceae. The anticancer activities of some species, such as Punica granatum L., Nerium oleander L., Olea europea L., Matricaria chamomilla L., Cassia acutifolia L., Nigella sativa L., Capsicum frutescens L., Withania somnifera L., and Zingiber officinale Roscoe, have been examined in clinical trials. Among the various Egyptian plant habitats, we found that most of these plants are grown in the North Sinai, New-Delta, and Giza Governorates.
CONCLUSION: In this review, we highlight the role played by Egyptian flora in current medicinal therapies and the possibility that these plants may be examined in further studies for the development of anticancer drugs. These bioactive plant extracts form the basis for the isolation of phytochemicals with demonstrated anticancer activities. Some active components derived from these plants have been applied to preclinical and clinical settings, including resveratrol, quercetin, isoquercetin, and rutin.
METHODS: Different methods including flow cytometry, comet assay and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) were used to show the effects of juice exposure on the level of DNA damage and the reduction of cancerous cells. MTT assay is a colorimetric method applied to measure the toxic effects of juice on cells.
RESULTS: The Centella asiatica juice was not toxic to normal cells. It showed cytotoxic effects on tumor cells in a dose dependent manner. Apoptosis in cells was started after being exposed for 72 hr of dose dependent. It was found that the higher percentage of apoptotic cell death and DNA damage was at the concentration above 0.1%. In addition, the juice exposure caused the reduction of c-myc gene expression and the enhancement of c-fos and c-erbB2 gene expressions in tumor cells.
CONCLUSIONS: It was concluded that the Centella asiatica juice reduced liver tumor cells. Thus, it has the potential to be used as a chemopreventive agent to prevent and treat liver cancer.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: In the initiation phase, the mice received a single dose of 100µl/100 µg DMBA (group I-V) or 100µl acetone (group VI) topically on the dorsal shaved skin area followed by the promotion phase involving treatment with the respective test solutions (100 µl of acetone, 10 mg/kg curcumin or MEMM (30, 100 and 300mg/kg)) for 30 min followed by the topical application of tumour promoter (100µl croton oil). Tumors were examined weekly and the experiment lasted for 15 weeks.
RESULTS: MEMM and curcumin significantly (p<0.05) reduced the tumour burden, tumour incidence and tumour volume, which were further supported by the histopathological findings.
CONCLUSION: MEMM demonstrated chemoprevention possibly via its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, and the action of flavonoids like quercitrin.