Hexane extract of Raphanus sativus L. roots inhibits cell proliferation and induces apoptosis in human cancer cells by modulating genes related to apoptotic pathway

Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2010 Sep;65(3):200-9. doi: 10.1007/s11130-010-0178-0.


Raphanus sativus, a common cruciferous vegetable has been attributed to possess a number of pharmacological and therapeutic properties. It has been used in indigenous system of medicine for the treatment of various human ailments in India. This present study evaluated the chemopreventive efficacy of different parts of R. sativus such as root, stem and leaves, extracted with solvents of varying polarity and investigated the molecular mechanism leading to growth arrest and apoptotic cell death in human cancer cell lines. Of the different parts, significant growth inhibitory effect was observed with hexane extract of R. sativus root. Analysis of hexane extract by GC-MS revealed the presence of several isothiocyanates (ITCs) such as 4-(methylthio)-3-butenyl isothiocyanate (MTBITC), 4-(methylthio)-3-butyl isothiocyanate (erucin), 4-methylpentyl isothiocyanate, 4-pentenyl isothiocyanate and sulforaphene. R. sativus root extract induced cell death both in p53 proficient and p53 deficient cell lines through induction of apoptotic signaling pathway regardless of the p53 status of cells. The molecular mechanisms underlying R. sativus-induced apoptosis may involve interactions among Bcl(2) family genes, as evidenced by up-regulation of pro-apoptotic genes and down-regulation of anti-apoptotic genes along with activation of Caspase-3. Our findings present the first evidence that hexane extract of R. sativus root exerts potential chemopreventive efficacy and induces apoptosis in cancer cell lines through modulation of genes involved in apoptotic signaling pathway.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / therapeutic use
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Caspase 3 / genetics
  • Caspase 3 / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Isothiocyanates / pharmacology
  • Isothiocyanates / therapeutic use
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Plant Roots
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism
  • Raphanus / chemistry*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Sulfoxides
  • Thiocyanates / pharmacology
  • Thiocyanates / therapeutic use
  • Tumor Protein p73
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / metabolism


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Isothiocyanates
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Plant Extracts
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Sulfoxides
  • Thiocyanates
  • Tumor Protein p73
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Caspase 3
  • sulforaphane