Effect of an extract of Withania somnifera root on estrogen receptor-positive mammary carcinomas

Anticancer Res. 2013 Apr;33(4):1519-23.


The chemopreventive activity of an extract of Withania somnifera (WS) roots was examined in female Sprague-Dawley rats that received the mammary carcinogen methylnitrosourea (MNU). The dose of the extract, administered by gavage, was 150 mg/kg body weight daily for 155 days, after injection of MNU. Rats in the treated group (N=15) had an average of 3.47 tumors, and rats in the control group (N=15) had 4.53, a reduction of 23%. The average weights of tumors were 4.98 g for rats in the treated group and 6.30 g for the controls, a difference of 21%. Labeling indices for Ki67 and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) markers in cancers of the treated group were 42% and 38% lower, respectively, than those of the corresponding indices for the control group. These results indicate that the root extract significantly reduced the rate of cell division in the mammary tumors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Alkylating Agents / toxicity
  • Animals
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / metabolism
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / prevention & control*
  • Methylnitrosourea / toxicity
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Plant Roots / chemistry*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism*
  • Withania / chemistry*


  • Alkylating Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Methylnitrosourea