Evaluation of Rumex hastatus D. Don for cytotoxic potential against HeLa and NIH/3T3 cell lines: chemical characterization of chloroform fraction and identification of bioactive compounds

BMC Complement Altern Med. 2016 Aug 24;16(1):308. doi: 10.1186/s12906-016-1302-y.


Background: The importance of Rumex genus and the renowned ethnopharmacological and biological potentials of Rumex hastatus is evident from the previous reports. Recently the R. hastatus has been evaluated for anticancer potential against HepG2, MCF7 or LNCaP cell lines with considerable cytotoxicity. We also reported the anti-tumor and anti-angiogenic potentials of R. hastatus. The current study has been arranged to evaluate cytotoxic potential of this plant against HeLa and NIH/3T3 cell lines and sort out the most active fraction of R. hastatus along with the identification of bioactive compounds responsible for cytotoxicity.

Methods: The cytotoxic potential of methanolic extract and sub-fractions of R. hastatus was performed following (3-[4, 5-dimethylthiazole-2-yl]-2, 5-diphenyl-tetrazolium bromide) MTT calorimetric assay. Four concentrations (500, 250, 125 and 62.5 μg/ml) of each sample were used against both cell lines. Two cell lines i.e. HeLa and NIH/3T3 were used in the assay. Furthermore, chemical characterization of chloroform fraction was performed by GC-MS analysis.

Results: The current investigational study demonstrates that all the solvent fractions of R. hastatus were active against HeLa and NIH/3T3 cell lines. Among all the fractions, chloroform fraction was dominant in activity against both cell lines. The observed IC50 values of chloroform fraction were 151.52 and 53.37 μg/ml against HeLa and NIH/3T3 respectively. The GC-MS analysis of chloroform fraction revealed the identification of 78 compounds with the identification of bioactive ones like ar-tumerone, phytol, dihydrojasmone, sitostenone etc.

Conclusion: It can be concluded from our results that Rumex hastatus D. Don possess strong cytotoxic potential. Moreover, the observed IC50 values and GC-MS analysis of chloroform fraction reveal that most of the bioactive compounds are in chloroform fraction. It can be further deduce that the chloroform fraction is a suitable target for the isolation of compounds having potential role in cancer therapy.

Keywords: Anticancer; Cytotoxicity; GC-MS; HeLa; NIH/3T3; Rumex hastatus.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / chemistry*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / toxicity
  • Chloroform
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry / methods
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • NIH 3T3 Cells
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / toxicity
  • Rumex / chemistry*


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Plant Extracts
  • Chloroform