Antiproliferative effects of mistletoe (Viscum album L.) extract in urinary bladder carcinoma cell lines

Anticancer Res. 2006 Jul-Aug;26(4B):3049-55.


Background: The aim of the study was to evaluate the antiproliferative potency of Viscum album extract (VA-E) in human bladder carcinoma cell lines with regard to its possible use for intravesical therapy of superficial bladder cancer.

Materials and methods: Proliferation (MTT-test or 3H-thymidine incorporation), necrotic disintegration (3H-thymidine release of prelabelled cells) and portions of apoptotic and/or necrotic cells (Annexin-V binding, propidium iodide (PI) labelling and DNA-fluorescence profiles by flow cytometry) were measured in four different human bladder carcinoma cell lines (T24, TCCSUP, J82 and UM-UC3) cultured in vitro.

Results: Antiproliferative effects of VA-E were observed in the four bladder carcinoma cell lines tested. Metabolic activity could also be completely abrogated by short-time contact of the cells with VA-E. Apoptosis and necrosis, as underlying mechanisms of action, were differentially expressed by the different cell lines.

Conclusion: VA-E and cytotoxic proteins, i.e., mistletoe lectins (ML) and viscotoxins (VT), were able to block the growth of bladder carcinoma cells. Together with the immunomodulating properties of VA-E, the observed antiproliferative potency might give a rationale for the topical intravesical application of VA-E for the treatment of superficial bladder cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intravesical
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / pathology
  • Cell Growth Processes / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Jurkat Cells
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / pathology
  • Viscum album / chemistry*


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Plant Extracts