Cytotoxicity of the Roots of Trillium govanianum Against Breast (MCF7), Liver (HepG2), Lung (A549) and Urinary Bladder (EJ138) Carcinoma Cells

Phytother Res. 2016 Oct;30(10):1716-1720. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5672. Epub 2016 Jul 1.


Trillium govanianum Wall. (Melanthiaceae alt. Trilliaceae), commonly known as 'nag chhatri' or 'teen patra', is a native species of the Himalayas. It is used in various traditional medicines containing both steroids and sex hormones. In folk medicine, the rhizomes of T. govanianum are used to treat boils, dysentery, inflammation, menstrual and sexual disorders, as an antiseptic and in wound healing. With the only exception of the recent report on the isolation of a new steroidal saponin, govanoside A, together with three known steroidal compounds with antifungal property from this plant, there has been no systematic pharmacological and phytochemical work performed on T. govanianum. This paper reports, for the first time, on the cytotoxicity of the methanol extract of the roots of T. govanianum and its solid-phase extraction (SPE) fractions against four human carcinoma cell lines: breast (MCF7), liver (HEPG2), lung (A549) and urinary bladder (EJ138), using the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazoliumbromide cytotoxicity assay and liquid chromatography and electrospray ionization quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry analysis of the SPE fractions. The methanol extract and all SPE fractions exhibited considerable levels of cytotoxicity against all cell lines, with the IC50 values ranging between 5 and 16 µg/mL. Like other Trillium species, presence of saponins and sapogenins in the SPE fractions was evident in the liquid chromatography mass spectrometry data. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Keywords: LC-MS; MTT; Trilliaceae; Trillium govanianum; cancer; cytotoxicity; sapogenin; saponin.

MeSH terms

  • Breast / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Lung / drug effects*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry*
  • Plant Roots / chemistry*
  • Trillium / chemistry*
  • Urinary Bladder / drug effects*


  • Plant Extracts