The bioactive potential of red raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.) leaves in exhibiting cytotoxic and cytoprotective activity on human laryngeal carcinoma and colon adenocarcinoma

J Med Food. 2012 Mar;15(3):258-68. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2011.0087. Epub 2011 Nov 14.


In this article, the bioactive potential of red raspberry leaves, a by-product of this widely spread plant, mostly valued for its antioxidant-rich fruits, was determined. The polyphenolic profile and antioxidative properties of red raspberry leaf extract were determined and examined for potential biological activity. Cytotoxic effect, antioxidative/prooxidative effect, and effect on total glutathione concentration were determined in human laryngeal carcinoma (HEp2) and colon adenocarcinoma (SW 480) cell lines. SW 480 cells are more susceptible to raspberry leaf extract in comparison with HEp2 cells. The antioxidative nature of raspberry leaf extract was detected in HEp2 cells treated with hydrogen peroxide, as opposed to SW 480 cells, where raspberry leaf extract induced reactive oxygen species formation. Raspberry leaf extract increased total glutathione level in HEp2 cells. This effect was reinforced after 24 hours of recovery, indicating that induction was caused by products formed during cellular metabolism of compounds present in the extract. Comparison of the results obtained on these two cell lines indicates that cellular response to raspberry extract will depend on the type of the cells that are exposed to it. The results obtained confirmed the biological activity of red raspberry leaf polyphenols and showed that this traditional plant can supplement the daily intake of valuable natural antioxidants, which exhibit beneficial health effects.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / drug therapy
  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism
  • Agriculture / economics
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / economics
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Antioxidants / economics
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Carcinoma / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Colonic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Croatia
  • Drug Discovery
  • Flavonoids / analysis
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Rosaceae / chemistry*
  • Waste Products / analysis
  • Waste Products / economics


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Antioxidants
  • Flavonoids
  • Plant Extracts
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Waste Products
  • Glutathione