Novel selective cytotoxicity of wild sarsaparilla rhizome extract

J Pharm Pharmacol. 2006 Oct;58(10):1399-403. doi: 10.1211/jpp.58.10.0014.


Among six fractions, including total extract and fractions of hexane, ethyl acetate, butanol, water and boiling water extracted and separated from wild sarsaparilla rhizome, the hexane fraction (HRW) was the most effective in eliminating four different human cancer cell lines with cellular viability less than 6.8%. HRW exhibited the highest potency against human leukaemia cells with an IC50 (concentration that inhibited the growth rate of cells by 50%) of 3.3 +/- 0.3 microg mL(-1), which was 17.6-fold smaller than that against normal human umbilical vein endothelial cells (IC50, 58.0 +/- 1.5 microg mL(-1)). For its rich natural resources, simple extraction procedure and high yield (3.2%), HRW has the potential to be developed as a selective anti-cancer nutraceutical or pharmaceutical natural health product with low side effects and high economical return.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / isolation & purification*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / toxicity*
  • Aralia / toxicity*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Female
  • HT29 Cells
  • Humans
  • Inhibitory Concentration 50
  • Leukemia, T-Cell / pathology
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / toxicity*
  • Rhizome / chemistry


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Plant Extracts