Human epithelial carcinoma cytotoxicity and inhibition of DMBA/TPA induced squamous cell carcinoma in Balb/c mice by Acacia catechu heartwood

J Pharm Pharmacol. 2011 Nov;63(11):1470-82. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-7158.2011.01354.x. Epub 2011 Sep 19.


Objectives: Acacia catechu heartwood contains significant amounts of polyphenolic compounds that exhibit powerful antioxidant activity. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the cytotoxicity of A. catechu heartwood extracts in a human epithelial carcinoma cell line (A431) and antitumour activity against DMBA/TPA induced squamous cell carcinoma in Balb/c mice.

Methods: Various extracts, including aqueous, ethyl acetate, chloroform and n-hexane, were tested for cytotoxic properties on a human epithelial carcinoma cell line (A431) by using MTT, sulforhodamine B and lactate dehydrogenase leakage assays. The standardized A. catechu heartwood aqueous extract (AQCE) was further evaluated for antitumour activity against 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA)/12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) induced skin carcinoma in Balb/c mice.

Key findings: The results showed that administration of AQCE showed a dose-dependent growth inhibition response, with an IC50 value of 78.56 µg/ml. Tumour incidence was significantly decreased (P < 0.001) to 30% with AQCE compared with 100% in the DMBA/TPA group. The AQCE was also found to significantly upregulate different antioxidant enzymes in skin and liver tissue.

Conclusions: The results suggest that AQCE may exert its chemopreventive activity by acting as an antioxidant.

MeSH terms

  • 9,10-Dimethyl-1,2-benzanthracene / toxicity
  • Acacia / chemistry*
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / chemically induced
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lipid Peroxidation
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Plant Preparations / therapeutic use*
  • Random Allocation
  • Skin Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Skin Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Skin Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate / toxicity


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Plant Preparations
  • 9,10-Dimethyl-1,2-benzanthracene
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Glutathione
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate