Ethanolic leaf extract of neem (Azadirachta indica) inhibits buccal pouch carcinogenesis in hamsters

Cell Biochem Funct. 2005 Jul-Aug;23(4):229-38. doi: 10.1002/cbf.1143.


We evaluated the chemopreventive effects of ethanolic neem leaf extract in the initiation and post-initiation phases of 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA)-induced hamster buccal pouch (HBP) carcinogenesis. The frequency of bone marrow micronuclei as well as the concentrations of lipid peroxides, ratio of reduced to oxidized glutathione (GSH/GSSG), and the activities of the GSH-dependent enzymes glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and glutathione-S-transferase (GST) in the buccal pouch, liver and erythrocytes were used as biomarkers of chemoprevention. All the hamsters painted with DMBA alone for 14 weeks developed buccal pouch carcinomas that showed diminished lipid peroxidation and enhanced antioxidant status associated with increased frequencies of bone marrow micronuclei. In the liver and erythrocytes of tumour-bearing animals, enhanced lipid peroxidation was accompanied by compromised antioxidant defences. Administration of ethanolic neem leaf extract effectively suppressed DMBA-induced HBP carcinogenesis as revealed by the absence of tumours in the initiation phase and reduced tumour incidence in the post-initiation phase. In addition, ethanolic neem leaf extract modulated lipid peroxidation and enhanced antioxidant status in the pouch, liver and erythrocytes and reduced the incidence of bone marrow micronuclei. The results of the present study, demonstrate that ethanolic neem leaf extract inhibits the development of DMBA-induced HBP tumours by protecting against oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 9,10-Dimethyl-1,2-benzanthracene / toxicity
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / therapeutic use*
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Azadirachta*
  • Carcinogens / toxicity
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / chemically induced
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / prevention & control*
  • Cricetinae
  • Erythrocytes / drug effects
  • Erythrocytes / metabolism
  • Ethanol / pharmacology
  • Glutathione / drug effects
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Glutathione Transferase / metabolism
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mesocricetus
  • Micronuclei, Chromosome-Defective / drug effects
  • Mouth Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Mouth Neoplasms / pathology
  • Mouth Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Plant Leaves


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Antioxidants
  • Carcinogens
  • Plant Extracts
  • Ethanol
  • 9,10-Dimethyl-1,2-benzanthracene
  • Glutathione Peroxidase
  • Glutathione Transferase
  • Glutathione