The dichloromethane extract of the ethnomedicinal plant Neurolaena lobata inhibits NPM/ALK expression which is causal for anaplastic large cell lymphomagenesis

Int J Oncol. 2013 Jan;42(1):338-48. doi: 10.3892/ijo.2012.1690. Epub 2012 Nov 6.


The present study investigates extracts of Neuolaena lobata, an anti-protozoan ethnomedicinal plant of the Maya, regarding its anti-neoplastic properties. Firstly, extracts of increasing polarity were tested in HL-60 cells analyzing inhibition of cell proliferation and apoptosis induction. Secondly, the most active extract was further tested in anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) cell lines of human and mouse origin. The dichloromethane extract inhibited proliferation of HL-60, human and mouse ALCL cells with an IC50 of ~2.5, 3.7 and 2.4 µg/ml, respectively and arrested cells in the G2/M phase. The extract induced the checkpoint kinases Chk1 and Chk2 and perturbed the orchestrated expression of the Cdc25 family of cell cycle phosphatases which was paralleled by the activation of p53, p21 and downregulation of c-Myc. Importantly, the expression of NPM/ALK and its effector JunB were drastically decreased, which correlated with the activation of caspase 3. Subsequently also platelet derived growth factor receptor β was downregulated, which was recently shown to be transcriptionally controlled by JunB synergizing with ALK in ALCL development. We show that a traditional healing plant extract downregulates various oncogenes, induces tumor suppressors, inhibits cell proliferation and triggers apoptosis of malignant cells. The discovery of the 'Active Principle(s)' is warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Asteraceae / chemistry*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Lymphoma, Large-Cell, Anaplastic / metabolism
  • Lymphoma, Large-Cell, Anaplastic / pathology
  • Lymphoma, Large-Cell, Anaplastic / prevention & control*
  • Methylene Chloride / chemistry*
  • Mice
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Plant Extracts
  • Methylene Chloride
  • p80(NPM-ALK) protein
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases