Anti-tumor activity of Aloe vera against DMBA/croton oil-induced skin papillomagenesis in Swiss albino mice

J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol. 2010;29(2):127-35. doi: 10.1615/jenvironpatholtoxicoloncol.v29.i2.60.


Human populations are increasingly exposed to various carcinogens such as chemicals, radiation, and viruses in the environment. Chemopreventive drugs of plant origin are a promising strategy for cancer control because they are generally nontoxic or less toxic than synthetic che-mopreventive agents, and can be effective at different stages of carcinogenesis. The present investigation was undertaken to explore the antitumor activity of topical treatment with aloe vera (Aloe vera) gel, oral treatment with aloe vera extract, and topical and oral treatment with both gel and extract in stage-2 skin carcinogenesis in Swiss albino mice induced by 7,12-dim ethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA) and promoted croton (Croton tiglium) oil. The animals were randomly divided into 4 groups and treated as follows: Group I, DMBA + croton oil only (controls); Group II, DMBA + croton oil + topical aloe vera gel; Group III, DMBA + croton oil + oral aloe vera extract; Group I V, DMBA + croton oil + topical aloe vera gel + oral aloe vera extract. Results showed that body weight was significantly increased from 78.6% in the control group (Group I) to 92.5%, 87.5%, and 90.0% in Groups II, III, and I V, respectively. A 100% incidence of tumor development was noted in Group I, which was decreased to 50%, 60%, and 40% in Groups II, III, and I V, respectively. Also in Groups II, III, and IV, the cumulative number of papillomas was reduced significantly from 36 to 12, 15, and 11; tumor yield from 3.6 to 1.2, 1.5, and 1.1; and tumor burden from 3.6 to 2.4, 2.50, and 2.75, respectively, after treatment with aloe vera. Conversely, the average latent period increased significantly from 4.9 (Group I) to 5.23, 5.0, and 6.01 weeks in Groups II, III, and I V, respectively. We conclude that aloe vera protects mice against DMBA/croton oil-induced skin papillomagenesis, likely due to the chemopreventive activity of high concentrations of antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, and E; glutathione peroxidase; several isozymes of superoxide dismutase; the minerals selenium and zinc; and polysaccharides in aloe vera.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 9,10-Dimethyl-1,2-benzanthracene / toxicity
  • Aloe*
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Croton Oil / toxicity
  • DNA Adducts / analysis
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Papilloma / chemically induced
  • Papilloma / drug therapy*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Protein Kinase C / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Skin Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Skin Neoplasms / drug therapy*


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • DNA Adducts
  • Plant Extracts
  • 9,10-Dimethyl-1,2-benzanthracene
  • Croton Oil
  • Protein Kinase C