Alternative medicine remedies might stimulate viability of leukemic cells

Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2006 Jan;46(1):94-8. doi: 10.1002/pbc.20513.


Objective: Ex vivo activity of three products of alternative therapy against leukemic and normal cells was analyzed.

Material and methods: Extracts of Viscum album, Uncaria tomentosa, and Croton lechleri were used for the study. Leukemic cells of 53 children with acute leukemias and four cell lines, Jurkat, CCRF-CEM, HL-60, and K-562 were tested for sensitivity to alternative medicine remedies by the MTT assay, cell-cycle analysis and annexin-V binding assay.

Results: Leukemic cells showed high resistance to tested three compounds of alternative medicine in all performed assays. Additionally, tested remedies stimulated survival of leukemic cells in 45%, 96%, and 83% cases, respectively; while no effect was observed in normal lymphocytes. In combination studies, Viscum album extract did not increase prednisolone and cytarabine cytotoxicity in leukemic cells.

Conclusion: We conclude that some alternative medicine remedies might stimulate the viability of childhood leukemic cells.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / pharmacology
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cat's Claw*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Croton*
  • Cytarabine / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / adverse effects*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / drug therapy*
  • Prednisolone / pharmacology
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Viscum album*


  • Plant Extracts
  • Cytarabine
  • Prednisolone