Beetroot and leaf extracts present protective effects against prostate cancer cells, inhibiting cell proliferation, migration, and growth signaling pathways

Phytother Res. 2021 Sep;35(9):5241-5258. doi: 10.1002/ptr.7197. Epub 2021 Jun 16.


Beet (Beta vulgaris L.) has high nutritional value, containing bioactive compounds such as betalains and flavonoids. Scientific evidence points to the use of these natural compounds in the treatment of several types of cancer, such as prostate cancer, one of the main causes of morbidity and mortality in men. Here, we compared beet roots and leaves extracts, and their main compounds, apigenin, and betanin, respectively, in DU-145 and PC-3 prostate cancer cell lines. Both cells presented the proliferation decreased for beetroot and beet leaves extracts. The apigenin treatment also reduced the proliferation of both cell lines. Regarding cell migration, beet leaves extract was able to decrease the scratch area in both cell lines, whereas apigenin affected only PC-3 cells' migration. In colony formation assay, both extracts were effective in reducing the number of colonies formed. Besides, the beet leaves extracts and apigenin presented strong inhibition of growth-related signaling pathways in both cell lines, and the beetroot extract and betanin presented effects only in DU-145 cells. Furthermore, the extracts and isolated compounds were able to reduce the levels of apoptotic and cell cycle proteins. This study reveals that beet extracts have important anti-cancer effects against prostate cancer cells.

Keywords: Beta vulgaris; apigenin; cell cycle; mTOR; prostate cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis
  • Beta vulgaris* / chemistry
  • Betalains
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Plant Extracts* / pharmacology
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Plant Roots / chemistry
  • Prostatic Neoplasms* / drug therapy


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Plant Extracts
  • Betalains