Bioactive chemicals from carrot (Daucus carota) juice extracts for the treatment of leukemia

J Med Food. 2011 Nov;14(11):1303-12. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2010.0284. Epub 2011 Aug 24.


Overwhelming evidence indicates that consumption of fruits and vegetables with antioxidant properties correlates with reduced risk for cancers, including leukemia. Carrots contain beneficial agents, such as β-carotene and polyacetylenes, which could be effective in the treatment of leukemia. This study investigated the effect of carrot juice extracts on myeloid and lymphoid leukemia cell lines together with normal hematopoietic stem cells. Leukemia cell lines and nontumor control cells were treated with carrot juice extracts for up to 72 hours in vitro. Induction of apoptosis was investigated by using annexin V/propidium iodide staining followed by flow cytometric analysis, and results were confirmed by using 4'-6-diamidino-2-phenylindole morphology. Effects on cellular proliferation were investigated via cell cycle analysis and cell counts. Treatment of leukemia cell lines with carrot juice extract induced apoptosis and inhibited progression through the cell cycle. Lymphoid cell lines were affected to a greater extent than were myeloid cell lines, and normal hematopoietic stem cells were less sensitive than most cell lines. This study has shown that extracts from carrots can induce apoptosis and cause cell cycle arrest in leukemia cell lines. The findings suggest that carrots may be an excellent source of bioactive chemicals for the treatment of leukemia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Beverages*
  • Cell Cycle Checkpoints
  • Cell Line, Tumor / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Daucus carota / chemistry*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • HL-60 Cells / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Leukemia / pathology*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Polyynes / pharmacology
  • Vegetables / chemistry
  • beta Carotene / pharmacology


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Antioxidants
  • Plant Extracts
  • beta Carotene
  • Polyynes