Anti-Cancer Effects of Clinacanthus nutans Extract Towards Human Cervical Cancer Cell Line, HeLa

Yusmazura Zakaria, Lim Wei Yee, Nik Fakhuruddin Nik Hassan


Clinacanthus nutans or locally known as Belalai Gajah in Malaysia has been used in China in various manners to treat inflammatory conditions like hematoma, contusion, strains and rheumatism. Recently, C. nutans has become popular for the treatment of cancer among Malaysian. Thus, the aim of this present study is to prove the anti cancer activity of C. nutans extracts in a treatment of cervical cancer as claimed by local people. Aqueous and methanol extracts were extracted from the leaves of C. nutans and phytochemical screening was performed for determination of secondary metabolites. The cytotoxic activities of both aqueous and methanol extracts were investigated against HeLa cell by using MTT assay. The mode of cell death was examined by Hoechst 33258 nuclear staining. The secondary metabolite constituents detected in C. nutans aqueous extract are terpenoids and flavonoids, whereas methanol extract contains terpernoids, alkaloids and flavonoids. Results also showed that C. nutans aqueous extract exerted a significant cytotoxic effect on HeLa cells (IC50=13±0.82 µg/ml) but no IC50 was detected by methanol extract. No significant cytotoxic activities (IC50 = not detected) were observed in normal kidney cell line, Vero, treated with both aqueous and methanol extracts of C. nutans which showed the cytoselective property of the extracts. However, HeLa and Vero cells treated with control drug, tamoxifen showed a significant cytotoxicity effects with IC50 values of 3.8±0.19 µg/ml and 2.2±0.029 µg/ml respectively. Hoechst 33258 stained showed the aqueous extract of C. nutans induced cell death on HeLa cells via apoptosis. Thus, suggesting C. nutans aqueous extract as a potential promising alternate therapeutic substance for cancer prevention and treatment especially for cervical cancer treatment.


Clinacantus nutans, cervical cancer, anti-cancer, phytochemical

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