An insight into the cytotoxic activity of phytol at in vitro conditions

Nat Prod Res. 2014;28(22):2053-6. doi: 10.1080/14786419.2014.921686. Epub 2014 Jun 4.


The cytotoxicity of the diterpene alcohol, phytol, was evaluated by using the MTT assay in vitro against seven tumour cells and one normal cell of human origin. The compound tested induced concentration-dependent cytotoxic response in all cell lines, demonstrating to be most and least effective against the breast adenocarcinoma MCF-7 and the prostate adenocarcinoma PC-3 cells, respectively (IC50 8.79 ± 0.41 μM and 77.85 ± 1.93 μM). The IC50 values towards the other five tumours (HeLa, HT-29, A-549, Hs294T and MDA-MB-231) ranged from 15.51 to 69.67 μM. However, mild toxicity was detected against the foetal lung fibroblast MRC-5 cells at the concentrations used (IC50 124.84 ± 1.59 μM). According to the experimental data obtained, this cost-effective natural product widely present in the biosphere may inspire the development of new drug-like substances with improved cytotoxic activity on breast cancer.

Keywords: MCF-7 cells; MTT assay; diterpene alcohol.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor
  • Female
  • HT29 Cells
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Inhibitory Concentration 50
  • MCF-7 Cells
  • Male
  • Molecular Structure
  • Phytol / chemistry
  • Phytol / pharmacology*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Phytol