Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the world. Many efforts have focused on finding natural molecules with potential chemo-preventive activity due to their low toxicity compared to synthetic drugs. However, comprehensive information on the bioactive fractions and components is still missing. In this study, we developed a method for the quantitative separation and isolation of saponins from asparagus genotypes consisting of an adsorption chromatography and subsequent liquid chromatographic separation on a reversed-phase column. The saponins isolated were tested for their cytotoxic activity against human colon cancer cell lines, which could develop cross-resistance to a wide variety of chemotherapeutic drugs. Our results showed that Huétor-Tájar asparagus saponins (HTSAP), mainly protodioscin and HTSAP-10 have higher cytotoxic activity than HTSAP-1, HTSAP-6, and HTSAP-8. This study links the potential anticancer effect of asparagus to specific saponins and unveils the triguero Huétor-Tájar asparagus as a nutraceutical particularly in colon cancer therapies.
Keywords: asparagus; biological activity; colon cancer cells; cytotoxicity; saponins.
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