Intratumoral application of standardized mistletoe extracts down regulates tumor weight via decreased cell proliferation, increased apoptosis and necrosis in a murine model

Anticancer Res. 2006 Nov-Dec;26(6B):4451-6.


The cytotoxic in vitro activity of standardized mistletoe extracts (ME) was examined by established assays towards the human ductal breast carcinoma cell line BT474. A dose-dependent (optimum 25 mg/mL medium) and significantly (p < 0.05) enhanced cytotoxic activity towards the BT474 cells was demonstrated. In vivo experiments on the antitumor activity of ME-A and ME-M were performed in a BALB/c-mouse / BT474 ductal breast carcinoma model. ME-A and ME-M were intratumorally administered according to an application schedule which was found to be optimal concerning dosage and time of administration. Standardized intratumoral application of ME-A and ME-M induced a significantly (p < 0.05) decreased tumor weight in experimental mice. Histological investigations were performed comprising analysis of mitosis and proliferation rates (Ki67 expression), as well as necrosis and apoptosis induction (ssDNA detection). As compared to tumors of control mice with intratumoral phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) injections, tumors of the ME-A and ME-M treated groups showed a decreased cell proliferation rate, as well as an increased cell necrosis and apoptosis rate. Standardized mistletoe extracts, interfering with defined tumor cell functions, e.g., proliferation, necrosis and apoptosis, may have an impact on local cancer treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Injections, Intralesional
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mistletoe / chemistry*
  • Models, Animal
  • Necrosis
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*


  • Plant Extracts