Solanum nigrum L. polyphenolic extract inhibits hepatocarcinoma cell growth by inducing G2/M phase arrest and apoptosis

J Sci Food Agric. 2011 Jan 15;91(1):178-85. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.4170. Epub 2010 Sep 17.


Background: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a rapidly progressive cancer with poor prognosis. However, there have been no significant new developments in treating liver cancer. To search for an effective agent against HCC progression, we prepared a polyphenolic extract of Solanum nigrum L. (SNPE), a herbal plant indigenous to Southeast Asia and commonly used in oriental medicine, to evaluate its inhibitive effect on hepatocarcinoma cell growth. The growth inhibition of HepG2 cells in vitro and in vivo was determined in the presence of SNPE.

Results: We found 1 µg mL(-1) SNPE-fed mice showed decreased tumor weight and tumor volume by 90%. Notably, 2 µg mL(-1) SNPE resulted in almost complete inhibition of tumor weight as well as tumor volume. In line with this notion, SNPE reduced the viability of HepG(2) cells in a dose-dependent manner. HepG(2) cells were arrested in the G(2)/M phase of the cell cycle; meanwhile, the protein levels of cell CDC25A, CDC25B, and CDC25C were clearly reduced. Moreover, sub-G(1) phase accumulation and caspases-3, 8, and 9 cleavages were induced by SNPE.

Conclusion: This study shows that SNPE is a potent agent for HCC treatment through targeting G(2)/M arrest and apoptosis induction, achieving cell growth inhibition.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / therapeutic use
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / physiopathology
  • Caspases / metabolism
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology*
  • Flavonoids / therapeutic use
  • Hep G2 Cells
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Liver Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Phenols / pharmacology*
  • Phenols / therapeutic use
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Polyphenols
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Solanum nigrum / chemistry*


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Flavonoids
  • Phenols
  • Plant Extracts
  • Polyphenols
  • Proteins
  • Caspases