Effect of Sanguisorba officinalis L on breast cancer growth and angiogenesis

Expert Opin Ther Targets. 2012 Mar;16 Suppl 1:S79-89. doi: 10.1517/14728222.2011.642371. Epub 2012 Feb 9.


Objective: Sanguisorba officinalis L. (SA) has shown anti-inflammation, hematopoiesis and immunity enhancing properties. No detailed studies have been reported on its anti-cancer effects. This study therefore was undertaken to analyze its effects on human breast cancer utilizing in vitro and in vivo methodologies.

Methods: Human breast cancer cell lines MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 were utilized for evaluating SA influences on tumor progression and angiogenesis processes like proliferation, the cell cycle, apoptosis, tube formation and migration abilities. Both cancer xenografts were also used to determine the herb efficacy in vivo. Bioactivity-guided fractionation was carried out to determine the bioactive compounds in SA.

Results: SA inhibited proliferation, induced S phase arrest and triggered mitochondrial pathway apoptosis in both cancer cells. Angiogenesis experiments revealed that SA inhibited VEGF expression in both cancer cell lines. Meanwhile, the proliferation, tube formation and migration abilities of endothelial cells were also inhibited. In vivo experiments demonstrated that SA reduced tumor size and neoangiogenesis in both cancer xenografts. Gallic acid and ellagic acid were finally identified as bioactive compounds in SA.

Conclusions: SA might be of value as a breast cancer preventive and therapeutic agent by inducing apoptosis and inhibiting angiogenesis. Further research is needed to evaluate its metabolism and synergistic effects with chemotherapeutic drugs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Breast Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Cycle Checkpoints / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Ellagic Acid / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Gallic Acid / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / drug therapy*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Sanguisorba*


  • Plant Extracts
  • Ellagic Acid
  • Gallic Acid