Chickpea Lectin Inhibits Human Breast Cancer Cell Proliferation and Induces Apoptosis Through Cell Cycle Arrest

Protein Pept Lett. 2018;25(5):492-499. doi: 10.2174/0929866525666180406142900.


Background: Breast cancer demands safe adjuvant to overcome the side effects of standard drug tamoxifen. Diet derived bioactive compounds are reported to exhibit modulation of cancer growth leading to cell death. Chickpea is a protein rich edible legume with several bioactive compounds that includes lectin as well. Characterization of chickpea lectin for its effect against cancer cells has been investigated in this study.

Method: Cicer arietinum L. lectin (CAL) agglutinating trypsin-treated rabbit blood cells was purified employing DEAE-cellulose and SP-sephadex ion exchange chromatography. The lectin was characterized for its biological activity vis-à-vis antiproliferative and apoptotic effects through cell cycle arrest in MCF-7 human breast cancer cells.

Result: There is a significant inhibition of the survival of breast cancer cells due to chickpea lectin in a dose dependent manner for 24 hr. Lectin treated cells revealed distinct features of apoptosis. Flow cytometric analysis at 80 µg/ml of lectin induced S and G2 phase cell cycle arrest. CAL induced apoptosis in MCF-7 cells associated with lactate dehydrogenase leakage, cell cycle arrest and reactive oxygen species generation.

Conclusion: Our studies show that chickpea lectin exerted anticancer activity and could be exploited as an essential source for medicine leading to the treatment of breast cancer.

Keywords: Anticancer; Caspase-3; Cicer arietinium L; MCF-7 cells; Reactive oxygen species; SRB assay..

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects*
  • Cicer / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • MCF-7 Cells
  • Plant Lectins / chemistry
  • Plant Lectins / pharmacology*
  • Rabbits


  • Plant Lectins